Salvatore DiLisi and his family immigrated from Carini, Italy in 1978, and they founded DiLisi Ristorante soon after. A few years later, his parents returned home, and Salvatore took over. The next 35 years saw some changes. Sal expanded his family to include his wife Nancy and their children Giacomo and Valeria. He made the eatery's name synonymous with family-style servings of seafood, pasta, and pizza. And he opened up a second location, connected to the original by a 10-mile-long zip line of spaghetti. Today, in DiLisi's two kitchens, chefs draw upon the culinary traditions of northern Italy and the Mediterranean, kneading dough by hand and combining meat and seafood in unexpected ways.
Before chefs at Carini's Pizza, Subs & Pasta pick up a single pepperoni or shred of mozzarella, they mix, knead, and hand-stretch dough and prepare sauce from scratch. Then, and only then, pizzas are personalized with more than two-dozen toppings, from chicken and bleu cheese to ground beef, sour cream, tomatoes, nacho chips, and mozzarella. But the menu also includes alternatives for guests who ate pizza for breakfast and lunch: pasta and sub sandwiches can stop them from consuming three round meals.
After working in family-owned restaurants in Italy for years, the chefs behind DiMeo's Pizzeria decided to open their own eatery in the States. Inventive specialty pizzas like the Philly Supreme (topped with rib-eye chopped steak) pop out of ovens before heading to tables alongside plates of veal parmigiana and lasagna bolognese.
Grandmaster Dennis Tosten founded the first Amerikick in 1967 and has since taught several champion fighters, police officers, and everyday students karate and self-defense. Today, the lauded chain teaches fitness classes inspired by martial arts, including cardio kickboxing in six states. Each location upholds a curriculum that blends Chinese and Japanese martial-arts styles—including kenpo and tae kwon do—with modern self-defense strategies, further updating traditional practices by eschewing uniforms and belts for casual workout gear. Having attained certification in teaching kickboxing from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, Amerikick's seasoned instructors also each possess black belts in karate, a rank as difficult to attain as the snake charmer's belt of live cobras.
Owners Todd and Lindsay Agren have run Mario's Pizza for more than a decade, and they hope this marks the start of a long line of pizza-makers. This close-knit family dynamic extends to the way they welcome guests at their intimate pizzeria. They also aim to give their meals a home-style feel when using fresh, local produce to whip up authentic Italian dinners, homemade pizzas, wings, and paninis. And many of the savory sauces are house-made. Mario's can even cater special occasions to celebrate birthdays, graduations, or the crowning of the neighborhood Candyland champ.