Sturdy, huge, and basking in the warmth of candles suspended overhead, the community table inside Mia Cucina's Powell outpost is an apt metaphor for the community that frequents the restaurant. At both locations, a sense of hospitality vies with the aromas of house sauces to charm those who walk through the doors. Children—who dine gratis on Mondays and Wednesdays—peruse a specialized menu with mazes and games, absorbing trivia about Italy's climate, its inventions, and the volcanoes that spew marinara sauce. Adults scan their own menu, which embraces Italian staples along with more updated plates, from chicken parmesan to pesto-rubbed mahi-mahi fillets.
When they aren't browsing the cuisine, their eyes might linger on the shelves of the floating bar, where wine bottles and glasses levitate over the counter instead of bogarting the chairs. The surrounding wall mimics gray stonework, adding a rustic cellar ambiance to the setting, though the white cloths draped over each table bespeak modern sophistication. The murmur of conversations between families, friends, and couples pervades the genial space, where Mia Cucina insists "everyone's Italian."
Expert pie tossing and fresh ingredients catapult Romeo’s Pizza into the upper echelons of dough-centric fare. The menu's resident pizzas—ranging from 9-inch bundles of joy ($7.99+ plus $1.50/topping) to full-sheet behemoths ($24.99+ plus $4/topping) perfect for parties with enough space to compose an entire ode to a birthday boy or girl—can be custom-constructed with any combination of six sauces and more than 20 toppings. Patrons preferring demolition without construction can choose one of Romeo’s specialty pies, including Dante’s Peak, a mouth-wowing mountain of sausage, banana peppers, onions, tomatoes, and pepperoni ($15.99 for 12") that fearlessly scales the heights of flavor without recourse to sauce sherpas or pepperoni pack mules. Subs, wings, and crusty-gooey strombolis and calzones ($7.99) further douse the flames of hunger in savory sauces and cheese.
Papa Murphy’s, the highest-ranking pizza chain in the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, serves up a tasty menu of handmade Take 'n’ Bake pizzas made from dough, cheese, meat, and veggies that are freshly prepared every day. After customers choose their pie, Papa Murphy's slice-slingers build the pizza in-store and package it for customers to bake at home in the oven, in a pottery kiln, or over a pile of burning cookbooks. Customers can select one of Papa Murphy's signature pizzas or customize their 'za ($9.99 for a large with one topping) to a more specific taste, choosing from four sauces, three crusts, and more than 20 toppings.
The cooks at each Johnny Buccelli's restaurant location prepare Italian food fresh to order. They grill steakhouse cheesesteak subs with bacon, mushrooms, and bleu cheese and bake pans of pasta layered with Italian sausage, ground beef, and ricotta cheese for lunch and dinner.