Since 1908, the Destito family and their descendants have been bringing the tastes of Italy to Rome, New York. The chefs at this third-generation-run restaurant keep guests coming back with their housemade pizzas, seafood pastas, and veal parmigianas, as well as with their American dishes, including bone-in pork chops with mashed potatoes.
In the dining room, patrons dig into the dishes while seated at white-clothed tables, surrounded by walls crammed with vintage pennants from universities all across the country and framed black-and-white photos. They can also head out to the patio, which seats 150 people, hosts local music in the summer, and has an awning to protect guests from the weather and hungry skydivers.
The Sokolowski family fired up Checkers Family Restaurant and Pizzeria in 2001, determined to fill the following decade with cheese and pepperoni pizzas and spicy wings. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner courses grace tables that sprout like wild wood-shop projects from the floor of indoor and outdoor eating areas. Every Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Checkers hosts fish fries that grant fresh haddock a starring role in both a sandwich and fish dinner.
Gianni leads a team of formaggio painters in smuggling classic Bronx flavors from his former community to his current digs in Syracuse. In the Castle Hill pie, cooks cover a disk of house-made dough with layers of sauce, cheese, bacon, and ground beef before sliding it into a hot oven until it crisps, bubbles, and imitates the sounds of a kitchen timer ($15.95). Broccoli trees line the Mosholu Park pizza's toasted crust, paved with creamy ricotta cheese so that garlic cars can easily coast into the mouths of nearing diners ($15.95). Patrons may also craft their own crusty cuisine by tailoring toppings ($7.95+) or try pie-by-the-slice ($1.75+). Orders of golden garlic knots bathe in butter and garlic sauce before offering to turn tongues into slip 'n' slides ($1.25), and wings can range in spiciness depending on the size of customers' fire extinguishers ($4.20+).
Sardo’s dishes up an opulent array of eatables, featuring a wealth of specialty pizzas built from hand-tossed dough and fresh toppings that are prepared daily. The extensive menu sates grumbling stomachs and forgotten geometric taste buds with triangular slices ($1.75 each) or colossal circles, such as a 16-inch Sardo’s Paradise, a twice-baked disk smothered in garlic and tomato sauce and sprinkled with sausage, pepperoni, and a variety of vegetables under a bubbling canopy of mozzarella and ricotta cheese ($18.99). Friday and Saturday nights battered-haddock sandwiches ($5.99) and dinners ($7.99) materialize on menu pages like an edible Brigadoon, delighting palates before vanishing into the misty depths of patrons' stomachs. Pasta dishes lift up orders of chicken or eggplant parmigiana on litters of penne pasta ($7.49) and chicken wings ($6.99 for 10) coat fingers and content grins with your choice from seven sauces.
Grimaldi's chefs draw upon the restaurant's more than 50 years in business to fill bellies with a menu of homemade meat, seafood, and pasta dishes. Diners anchor their fork tines in the hearty heft of a 10-ounce filet mignon, which is festooned in grilled portabella mushrooms like a chef at a job interview ($27.95). Chicken parmigiana is cloaked regally in marinara sauce, which the restaurant's experienced culinarians make daily ($14.95). Salmon Oscar Florentine arrives at tables with a norwegian salmon basking on a crest of lump crabmeat and sautéed spinach ($24.95), and the homemade lasagna brims with tributaries of warm cheese ($15.95). Cap off bites with a glass of red- or white-grape ambrosia ($5.50–$9) from Grimaldi's wine list to fuel postdinner joviality without having to pull the futon out for Bacchus.
Riccardi's pie-purveyors satisfy visiting appetites with an array of delectable bites residing on a highly pizza-centric menu. Hot wings ($7.99/dozen) keep salivary glands busy extinguishing localized mouth fires, while mild, medium, barbecued, and breaded versions ($7.99–$8.75/dozen) seduce taste buds with less-aggressive tactics. New York—style pizza sates cravings for cheese and tomato sauce by combining them on 14-inch ($8.99), 16-inch ($10.99), or colossal sheet-sized ($16.99) dough platforms. Fashion slices with regular toppings of ham, hot peppers, or sausage ($1.50–$2.75 each), or decorate the savory circle with premium toppings such as eggplant, meatballs, or pineapple ($2–$3.25 each).