Many of Caffe Pranzo's customers have been dining there for well over a decade. It's the restaurant's traditional Italian menu that inspires such devotion, plating pastas, chicken, and fish saut?ed in delicate wine sauce. Pizzas, too, are prepared the old-fashioned way, with dough thrown high in the air. After garnishing them with gourmet toppings such as grilled artichoke hearts, portabella mushrooms, and summer squash, the brick-oven-baked pies transport to a dining room bedecked with works by local artist Jennifer Holloway. There, guests who've finished off their meals can tuck into cheesecakes shipped from New York City's Carnegie Deli for a taste of Manhattan without the granite-y mouthfeel of biting the Empire State Building.
Behind the counter at Top That! Pizza, a colorful collection of more than 30 toppings, 10 cheeses, and 8 sauces await each pizza-lover’s creativity. They first pick from three crusts, including honey wheat, then choose sauces such as Thai peanut and basil pesto to adorn their personal-sized pies. Lastly, they select from locally sourced toppings such as marinated ribeye, Polish sausage, and applewood bacon, as well as regional cheeses including asiago and gorgonzola, before their creation is baked to a golden crisp in just three minutes. Customers can then sit down to enjoy their customized pie at the restaurant, or take it home. It’s the concept of combining choice, quality, and speed come to fruition that Top That’s creators envisioned years ago. Today, locations stretch across Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado, and menus make room for baked dishes such as chicken alfredo and meatball marinara.
Drawing on skills he refined at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Benvenuti's Ristorante's executive chef, Anthony Compagni, deftly incorporates contemporary touches into the menu's traditional, Old-World recipes. Hints of saffron lend a twist to the lobster ravioli, and herb-crusted lamb chops appear alongside sautéed watercress and greek yogurt. Although he imports handmade pastas from Abruzzo, Italy, Compagni also makes mozzarella in-house and sources local, organically grown produce whenever possible.
Wooden cube shelves dominate the dining room's brick walls and display a selection of wines from the restaurant's 150-bottle-strong wine list, which includes representative tipples from countries around the world. A rolling, library-style ladder allows servers to effortlessly snag a bottle from the higher shelves without the hassle of welding spare corkscrews into a jetpack.
At Uncle Vinny's NY Pizza, cooks decorate New York–style pizza crusts with nearly two dozen toppings that range from pepperoni and buffalo chicken to veggies such as broccoli and fresh tomatoes. But before layering on hearty ingredients, they can prep the crust with garlic and ricotta cheese or a drizzle of hot oil—a house signature. Alternatively, the toppings can join more classic marinara sauce or be tucked inside of a calzone or glove compartment before a road trip. After ordering pizza, hero sandwiches, or baked lasagna at the counter, guests can lounge at one of the tables dressed in a red-and-white checkered cloth or take their food to go.
Strips of beef sizzle on the grill until nearly caramelized on the outer layer; then they reabsorb their juices while resting on a plate with sautéed onions, bell peppers, and a generous sprinkling of monterey jack cheese. The result is alambre, and it’s one of many original recipes invented by the chefs at Habaneros Mexican Restaurant, according to the Edmond Outlook. Another novel dish is the pork chili verde, where pieces of marinated pork simmer in green and red salsa. Diners can also sample more traditional Mexican entrees such as chiles rellenos—poblano peppers stuffed with cheese and chicken—or fajitas with chicken or beef.
Tin ceilings hover above the weathered plaster and brick walls of Two Olives Café, whose rustic, old-world character is bolstered by exposed ventilation pipes that run the length of the room. The founder of the café, Tricia Henderson, designed the room to reflect the history of the area, mounting black-and-white photographs to offer guests a more explicit glimpse into the past.
In the kitchen, fresh chicken salad is laced with apples, grapes, and almonds, giving it a sweet, tart crunch that makes it the most popular sandwich on the menu and the expected winner of next year's prom court. Ham, salami, and olive salad stack the muffaletta sandwich, and housemade chipotle dressing adds a subtle smokiness to the otherwise classic caesar salad.