Since 1969, Mario the Baker has regaled customers with the rich tastes of vodka sauce, baked eggplant, capicola subs, and cheesy pizzas. Since its inception, the restaurant has grown from a single storefront to a 14-location local fiefdom, built upon a foundation of crafting consistently delicious casual Italian cuisine, thin-crust New York–style pizzas, and traditional pasta dishes. Piping-hot garlic rolls accompany plates of shrimp scampi or chicken francese, and margherita pizzas and pineapple-topped hawaiian pies enliven celebrations of majestic T-ball-league triumphs and inconsequential T-ball-league defeats.
Top Pizza packs patrons' bellies with selections from a menu packed with New York–style pies strewn with medleys of more than 20 toppings. Like slam-poets in a geometry class, diners can orally attack triangular shapes sprinkled with up to four toppings, ranging from extra cheese to sausage to jalapeños. Mangle 10-slice pies along with garlic rolls inside toothy caverns while pausing to use refreshing soda to hydrate parched esophagi or water a grove of sugar-cane trees.
The dedicated dough maestros of Pizza Rustica fulfill circular-food quotas with freshly baked, preservative-free pies topped with creative earthborn ingredients. Stop in to peruse the menu, and sample mouthwatering munchables such as a huge slice of mega-meat pizza, piled high with two types of sausage, steak, ham, pepperoni, red onion, and plum-tomato sauce ($4.95), a 14” smoked-spicy-chicken pizza carrying a cast of fresh tomatoes, red onions, mozzarella, and boneless chipotle-chicken breast derived from a stash of poultry that's roasted that day ($16), or a portobello mushroom and goat cheese panini hugged by homemade rustica bread ($6.95). Slices boast above-average girth, so it’s a good idea to grab a friend before tag-teaming one of Pizza Rustica’s tomato-sauced pizza mats or the Nutella-and-ricotta-cheese-filled pizzetta ($3.95).
At Rocco’s Pizza Lounge, a team of pizza Picassos hand-toss dough prepared with imported Caputo flour before painting it with fresh sauce, covering it in a broadcast of cheese and toppings, and sliding it into a wood oven blazing at 900 degrees for crispy, cooked-in flavor. Patrons can dive right into pie heaven with more than 20 gourmet pizzas to choose from, including the tirolese, which finesses senses with fresh mozzarella, san marzano tomatoes, speck, and arugula ($15), or the pizza ala vodka’s vodka-infused pink sauce blanketed by mozzarella, shallots, mushrooms, and prosciutto ($15). Diners can also indulge in fare less easily applicable to mathematics, such as pappardelle tossed with Rocco’s homemade bolognese meat sauce ($15). Rocco’s also accommodates miniature appetites with more than 20 Italian-style tapas, such as the calamari fritti ($9) or uova in purgatorio, poached eggs prepared in a spicy tomato sauce and a course on Dante ($8).
Getting the dough right is one of the hardest parts of making a pizza. That's why they make it in house every morning at The Original Big Tomato, yielding a crust that's crisp on the bottom but still fluffy around the edges. Since a base like that deserves fine toppings, the crew also chops veggies fresh every day. They might crown pies with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh lettuce, basil, corn, and spinach. There's also a wide selection of cheeses, including gouda, gorgonzola, parmesan, and goat cheese. Alongside pizzas on the menu, there's also the range of salads, paninis, and wraps that one might see at an Italian cafe.