Pappou's Family Restaurant doesn't play coy about its do-it-yourself ethic and family-centric ethos. According to Cleveland.com, owner and chef George Sevastakis enlists his wife, sister, and children to tend to the restaurant, serving up Greek, Italian, and American dishes. Despite his duties as owner, George still makes time to prepare the desserts and baked goods himself and tends a garden where tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, and cucumbers grow. In addition to its Greek staples and seafood favorites, Pappou's serves breakfast pizzas in the mornings, topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, and peppers to differentiate them from traditional pizzas, which are only topped with scrambled eggs.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers pick up from the drive through or receive from skating car hops without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Steaming marinara and melted mozzarella are the glues that most often hold down Casamel's Pizza fresh toppings, although a garlicky white sauce is also available to unite pepperoni with fresh-cut mushrooms or ham with pineapple. Beyond the outskirts of hand-tossed pizzas, thick meatball subs join plump calzones, hearty pastas, and wings slathered in zesty barbecue sauce. Patrons can grab a seat and enjoy dessert cinnamon sticks in house, or request delivery service for a convenient meal at home, the office, or on a life raft.
The pizza-making prodigies at Carmino’s cover their doughy palettes with generous layers of sauce and cheese before piling them high with succulent meats and crisp veggies, resulting in baked creations to appease enlightened taste buds. Myriad pie packers range from fan-favorite pepperonis, sausages, and green peppers to healthful heaps of broccoli, carrots, and zucchinis; or choose specialty toppings such as roasted red peppers and chicken. Customers conspiring to abscond the authoritarian reign of tomato sauce can choose between two tasty alternatives in garlic butter or butter sauce.
Verso has expanded the traditional range of Italian fare to include Verso chips ($7), a deliciously seasoned stack of house-made potato chips heaped with provolone cheese, chunks of bacon, and green onion. Basic pizzas range from $6 to $16 to start, depending on size and shape (circle or sheet—sheets require 12 to 24 hours of advance notice to ensure their 800-thread-count goodness). Try a specialty option, such as a Caribbean ($18 for a large), topped with honey-lime oil, provolone, jerk chicken, mangos, caramelized onions, and cilantro. Sandwiches are available for easy gripping—bite into a chicken Philly ($7) with roasted chicken, sautéed peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheese served on a hoagie. Pasta ranges from $9 to $11, with meaty additions running an extra $2 to $3, and comes in every imaginable shape and length, including whole-wheat penne. Wash it all down with a variety of $2 beverages, or imbibe from the beer and wine lists ($4 to $16).
Foodgazi offers a diverse range of culinary classes devoted to unleashing the delicious power of farm-fresh, unprocessed meals incorporating as many organic and locally produced ingredients as possible. Foodgazi's savory, unforgettable vegetarian and vegan dishes run the gamut from convenient, casual fare to more involved culinary preparations. The Healthy School Lunches class (Thursday, August 19, 7 p.m.–9 p.m.) teaches the preparation of healthy, gourmet brown-bag fare for young scholars, and may include such offerings as sweet fruit kebabs, tempeh tuna salad with kale, and sweet potato chips. Two upcoming classes, Hearty Home-Style Italian and Pizza with Pizzazz, will dispense the ancient wisdom of whole grains and tomato viscosity, as well as how to toss pizza dough high enough to thoroughly frighten A.P. Astronomy students. On the other hand, the Foods for Entertaining, Holiday Eats, and Holiday Cookies classes are perfect for harnessing the sweetness of the holiday season without the nutritional guilt.