Inside Original Napoli Italian Restaurant by Papa Zack's bustling kitchen, a team of talented chefs craft house-made pasta before dousing noodles in meat, marinara, alfredo, and clam sauces. This kitchen architects the eatery's "what," but the staff's "how" involves constant, family-friendly friendliness. The culinary experts give chicken the royal treatment, dressing it up in a variety of dishes, including marsala, piccata, parmigiana, and rollatini. Sandwiches and pizza in two crusts round out the Italian-centric menu. The catering leg of the business feeds multicourse meals for at least 10 people or 5 people saving half their meal for their fallout shelter.
Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake Pizza was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of their signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. Their appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
The East Coast pizza purists at Paparazzi Pizzeria pop from-scratch dough topped with house-made sauce into stone deck ovens shipped straight from New York. In true Big Apple fashion, Paparazzi Pizzeria's signature pies stretch up to 18-inches across ($21.99)—the to-scale size of Barbie's pinkie were she to come to life. Try the Pappa's flavorful soiree—chicken, spinach, and roma tomatoes in garlic cloaks dancing on a golden-crust floor (10", $9.99; 18", $21.99), or construct an edible mosaic with custom pies (10", $7.99; 18", $13.99) piled with your choice of 20 toppings ($0.79–$1.99 each). Pasta dishes ($6.99–$8.99) and borough-bred strombolis ($9.99) stuffed with steak, sausage, and street smarts round out the menu.
Since its inception in 1974, Birraporetti's has melded Italian cooking with a traditional Irish-pub atmosphere, serving hand-tossed pizzas baked in their stone oven alongside robust Irish coffee and spirits. CBS Houston highlighted its oven-fired pizzas as some of the best in the city, specifically lauding the house bianco pizza for eschewing traditional ingredients such as tomato sauce and shredded copies of the Mona Lisa. The kitchen remains open until midnight to accommodate late-night cravings, yet the chefs still rise in time to serve Sunday jazz brunches replete with made-to-order waffles, omelets, and desserts served amid live jazz performances.
Russo’s staff cooks authentic, fresh Italian fare and specialty New York–style pizzas in its family-friendly environs. A wide-ranging menu catalogs starters such as the pomodoro, flatbread bruschetta with basil and roma tomatoes ($7.95), and an array of pizzas. The margherita ($15.95 for a small; $19.95 for a large) piles fresh, unmeaty ingredients atop an edible bread discus, and the buffalo-chicken pie ($16.95 for a small; $21.95 for a large) dresses the crust in a suit made from hot sauce, ranch dressing, and mozzarella, much like the suit the president traditionally wears to White House barbecues. Neapolitan pizzas, such as the pepperoni- and sausage-dotted paisano ($13.95), come with an extrathin crust. Aspiring culinary artists can follow Picasso and Warhol’s example by creating their own masterpiece from an ingredient palette that includes feta cheese, spinach, and canadian bacon, and then eating it before the public ever sees it. Russo’s warm, welcoming interior with exposed brick and wood accents makes it an ideal spot for feasting families or groups of friends.
The Big Apple has clearly won the pizza war—at least at Pizza Love. In the kitchen, the culinary team festoons their New York-style pies with a vast selection of toppings ranging from roasted peppers to Philly steak. In addition to traditional red sauce, they also slather dough with five other sauces that add uniqueness to their specialty pizzas. Garlic olive oil sauce underpins the Healthy Love pizza topped with spinach, mushrooms, and red bell peppers, while barbecue sauce infuses tangy flavor into the BBQ chicken pizza. Diners can also sate cravings for red sauce with pasta and calzones, before ending their meals on a sweet note by smooching their empty plates and ordering a slice of tiramisu.