On street corners from Texas to North Carolina, Johnny Brusco's Pizza serves up piping-hot slices of New York, and that's not whistling Dixie. It's not even kazooing Yankee. The franchise boasts a lineage that stretches back to 1965, when pie-smith Johnny Pace opened up his pizzeria just outside of Syracuse. Though the menu stays true to Johnny's classic style, today's crust-tossers aren't afraid to switch things up in modern style. Gluten-watchers can dig into a flour-free variant of the crust, and their specialties include such daring choices as a cream cheese pizza, a Philly-esque steak and cheese, and a zesty gourmet pie with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and artichokes. Outside of the round stuff, diners might select a summery strawberry-pecan salad, a classic plate of bruschetta with pesto, mozzarella, and marinara sauce, and a finger-licking dessert of cinna-knots.
Hand-tossed wheat or white crusts lay a golden base for Wheat State Pizza’s signature pies. Chefs spread cream-cheese sauce across a doughy foundation before sprinkling chicken, mushrooms, and provolone onto the Hawk’N Cheese pie, which comes with a high-pitched whistle that will summon it from the table to a gloved hand. Along with its inventive taco, buffalo, and barbecue-beef specialty pies, Wheat State Pizza bakes up make-your-own disks topped with the customer’s choice of three dozen different ingredients, from the familiar pepperoni and mushrooms to the unusual corn, cashews, and sunflower seeds. Philly-steak and barbecue-brisket sandwiches buttress the pie-centric menu, and fresh calzones sizzle with a similar taste to pizza that’s less messy to snack on while steering a jet ski that’s been modified to make the ride choppier.
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
At two locations, The Other Place’s staff fires up ovens to bake pizzas, italian subs, and sandwiches to a golden brown—the color of Pharaoh’s mask after he eats a chocolate bar. Atop hand-made pizza crusts made from a 40-year-old recipe, the kitchen team layers toppings such as italian sausage, salami, and sun-dried tomatoes, lubricated by tomato, alfredo, and barbecue sauce. Submarine-shaped bread holds italian meats, veggies, and toppings. In both eateries’ dining areas, more than 50 TVs stream sports games. The Other Place also often entertains guests with karaoke—America’s most underappreciated sport, and the one with the least funding in most school districts.
Michael Garozzo entered the dining business early, working as a busboy in his hometown of St. Louis. His young mind raced with dreams of opening a restaurant of his own, which came to fruition in 1989, when he opened Garozzo’s in Kansas City’s Columbus Park neighborhood. Since then, the restaurant has bloomed, and he had opened three additional locations across the greater Kansas City area.
Garozzo’s menu of Italian specialties is highlighted by the signature spiedini di pollo, a marinated chicken breast rolled in italian breadcrumbs, then skewered and grilled. The dish is served in four presentations, which include the Gabriella, with fettucine and spicy diablo sauce, and the Samantha, with fettucine, artichoke hearts, and alfredo sauce. Adding to the exclusive ambiance is the restaurant’s own branded wine, served at each location. Garozzo’s popular house tomato sauce, diablo sauce, and italian dressing are also available in grocery stores across the city, and its distinctive pastas can be purchased in many high-end local wig shops.
On weekends, F?tbol Club Eatery & Tap opens at 7:30 a.m.?an unusually early time for most restaurants known for a healthy array of beers on tap and a pub-like atmosphere. But their hours reflect the F?tbol Club's primary passion: to champion the game of soccer at all levels. Surrounded by fellow fanatics and a head-spinning array of soccer memorabilia, fans flock to F?tbol Club on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch English Premier League games live and nosh on breakfast burritos or biscuits. Domestic soccer is also a big hit, as F?tbol Club often fills to standing-room-only during Sporting KC soccer matches.
Not to be left out of the soccer theme, the menu boasts items such as the Beckham Burger and Buckminster's balls?baked dough garnished with garlic butter and parmesan. When not transfixed by the soccer action on the indoor TVs, guests can head outdoors, where a large porch lets guests air their cleats out in the breeze. F?tbol Club donates 1 percent of all proceeds to local youth soccer clubs.