With parents hailing from Sicily and Naples, Anthony Russo enjoyed an Italian upbringing. By age 12, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, learning to prepare Old World recipes with his family and family friends. And from the flurry of Italian phrases and conversation, one quote of his father's stuck with him most: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it!"
Several decades later, Anthony has hand-tossed his own Italian restaurant franchise and, true to his father's words, employs fresh ingredients in the same family recipes that were passed down to him. Amid exposed brick and walls the warm hue of marinara, skilled chefs craft New York–style brick-oven pizzas with toppings such as spinach, sundried tomatoes, and capers. Servers stand ready to answer questions about the restaurant’s wine lists, letting guests know which wines pair best with the Pizzotto sandwich or whether pinot noir can really turn dogs invisible.
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.
• For $10, you get an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for two (a $6.99 value each) plus two sodas (a $2 value each), valid from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (up to a $19.15 total value, including tax). • For $14, you get an Italian meal for two, including a medium 14-inch signature pizza (up to a $16.99 value), seven wings (a $5.99 value), and two sodas (a $2 value each; up to a $28.73 total value, including tax). • For $21, you get an Italian meal for four, including a large 16-inch signature pizza (up to a $19.99 value), 14 wings (an $11.98 value), and four sodas (a $2 value each; up to a $42.57 total value, including tax).
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.
A mom-and-pop-shop transplant from New York, Pizza King infuses its East Coast pies with authentic flavors and fresh ingredients taken from 40 years of familial recipe know-how. Small 9-inch pizzas ($5) satisfy diminutive cravings, but the monstrous 30-inch pie ($30) feeds whole block parties and was once used to blanket the entirety of Manhattan as part of Rudy Giuliani’s One City, One Pizza campaign. For an additional cost ($0.50–$4), taste DJs can spin their own mixings by choosing from a plethora of pizza toppings, such as meatballs, jalapeños, and olives. Specialty pizzas come capped with a variety of meat hats, including chicken wings ($12–$15), and The Legend pie fuses pepperoni, sausage, ham, beef, and bacon with onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and black olives to produce an omnivoric lovechild ($14–$18). Customers indifferent to pies can avail themselves of the nondiscus options adorning Pizza King's menu, such as calzones ($5+), stromboli ($5+), salads ($5+), wings ($6–$7), and garlic knots ($3).
DoubleDave's Pizzaworks serves up an assortment of hearty, hand-tossed pizzas, Peproni rolls, stromboli, and more. Choose a pie from DoubleDave's selection of specialty pizzas ($19.99 for an 18", $15.99 for a 15", and $12.99 for a 12”)—the buffalo-chicken pizza outfits its surface area in mozzarella, chicken strips, wing sauce, and ranch dressing, while the duplicitous Dave's Fave offers carnivore-coaxing meatball and sausage or veggie-baiting tomato, garlic, and spinach variations on its olive oil, garlic, and oregano sauce base. Do-it-yourselfers are welcome to design their own pies ($10.99 for a 15", plus $1.59 per topping), choosing size, toppings, and the type of crust, and diners wishing to cram their cuisine into claustrophobic confines can opt for a half-dozen Peproni rolls ($7.99), with pepperoni and cheese wrapped into dough. Or escape the boot-shaped grip of the Mediterranean with a Philly cheesesteak stromboli ($10.99 for large, $5.99 for small).