Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
Choice is key at Jafang Pizza. Customers can choose everything from size (ranging from by-the-slice to 28-inch party pizzas), crust (white or whole-wheat dough made daily in-house, thin or thick crust), sauce (including marinara, buffalo, cheeseburger, and specially seasoned olive oil), toppings (all the standards, plus grilled chicken, sliced turkey breast, and cucumber), and cheese (such as mozzarella, feta, and a vegan variety). No matter how the pizza is topped, Jafang Pizza strives to keep each pie lighter and healthier than the average slice. These custom pizzas can be eaten at Jafang, delivered, or premade and cooked later at home. In addition to pizzas, the restaurant also serves up sandwiches, salads, and appetizers, and pours a variety of alcoholic beverages, including more than a dozen draft and bottled beers and a selection of signature cocktails.
John's Incredible Pizza Co. graces guests with acres of incandescent entertainment options and a fully stocked buffet ($9.49 value, $1.50 value for drinks). In addition to a slew of soups, salads, pasta, desserts, and traditional pizza choices, the buffet brandishes a bouquet of specialty pizza creations, including spicy peanut-butter, barbecue chicken ranch, and alfredo pizza.
At Ray's Pizza Riverside, chefs stretch crusts from an 8-inch personal pizza to a family-sized 20-incher. Once guests choose their size, they can create their own topping combination or leave it to the chefs with specialty pies that include a barbecue chicken pizza and the pizza de bianco, which eschews pizza sauce and instead uses olive oil and garlic as the base for mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. Chefs also wrap dough around ingredients to create calzones, and stuff toppings right into customers’ pockets who are in a hurry. Salads, garlic bread, and wings complete meals, which can be taken home to eat or enjoyed inside the pizzeria while watching sports games and using the complimentary WiFi.
My N.Y. Pizza's dough-kneading chefs spin an Italian-inspired menu highlighted by sauce-slathered pizza. Personally decorated dough rings ($14.50 for small one-topping, $1.25 / additional topping) fuse art and mastication like Da Vinci's Last Spaghetti Supper with toothsome toppings such as salami, artichokes, and jalapenos. Calzones and stromboli ($6.99 / individual size) roll up meats and veggies in pockets of cheese and flaky crust, whereas sandwiches—including the roast beef, ham, and turkey-infused Amir's Awesome Special ($7.99 / 6")—use bread to border an army of deli cuts and vegetable accouterments. Daily fresh-made spaghetti sauce pours over a host of pastas such as the spaghetti with meat sauce special ($10.99), which sports two garlic-bread-slice escorts and a medium salad.
Wake snoozing taste buds with a hearty starter such as mozzarella suprema breadsticks adorned with natural cheese and herbs ($3.95 side; $5.95 large) before moving onto a signature fire-roasted pie. An authentic terra-cotta oven blasts RedBrick's prided circles with more than 1,000 degrees of heat, alchemically transforming their base dough into crispy gold in less than three minutes. Enjoy stationary drive-in dining with a bacon-cheeseburger pizza topped with ground beef and three kinds of cheese ($17.95 for a 14"), or graze on the veggie gourmet works, which comes loaded with a Peter Piper's worth of fresh vegetables including bell peppers, artichokes, and mushrooms, swaddled in your choice of a vegetarian red or white sauce ($17.95 for a 14"). Create-your-own pies are also available, providing palate-pleasing fill-in-the-blanks for the munching mad-libbest. Yowling sweet teeth can be silenced with a dessert of gourmet gelato or a surprise dinner visit from the dentist's wife, the librarian.