My Buddies Pizza celebrates 20 years of dishing up the hand-tossed pizzas, calzones, and sandwiches on its extensive menu, served in a family eatery furnished with blinking arcade games. Pepper the cheesy base of an extra-large pie with two toppings, choosing from a veritable cornucopia of fresh ingredients, including chorizo, candied pecans, and refried beans. Iceberg verdures shroud fresh bushels of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and pepperoncinis within large salads, and diners irrigate arid palates with frosty chalices of Coke, Dr. Pepper, or Sprite. Afterward, patrons can admire the eatery’s wall-mounted TVs or take their 20 tokens to the spacious game room in pursuit of My Buddies’ prizes and 8-bit contenders.
Though much in the world has changed since Papa Joe's Pizza opened in 1989, they've been crafting their pizzas from the exact same recipe all this time. As bowling balls send pins clattering inside Universal Strike Bowling Center, where the pizzeria calls home, players settle in to share pizzas such as the hulking 28-inch pie big enough to slice into 54 pieces or to use as a shawl.
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.
Armed with recipes from their Sicilian family members, Larry and Rose Lepley opened their first Mama Rose’s Pizzeria in Huntingdon Beach in 1976—partly with the help of kids from the neighborhood, who cleaned and painted in exchange for pizza. After the unassuming restaurant began to win local awards, the Lepleys and their five children opened a second location. Their son Joe eventually took over the business, moving the bustling pizza joint to Murrieta, where it continues to serve the same family recipes it has since the beginning. Mama Rose's took first place in the Press-Enterprise's 2012 Readers' Choice Awards for Best Slice of Pizza—a slice available with a traditional sturdy Sicilian crust or with a gluten-free base. In addition to meatballs, sausage, and olives, diners can also add ingredients such as breaded eggplant, cashews, and salami.
Beyond pizza, there are toasted sandwiches, pasta dinners, and breadsticks topped with house-made garlic butter and kisses blown from an Italian grandmother. A more recent additiion to the menu is a selection of wines from Leoness Cellars in Temecula, chosen to pair well with such desserts as a sticky apple pizza and New York–style cheesecake.