Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family?s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Giammarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat?s kitchen operations?although, these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 350 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.
Though years of working as a trainer for chain restaurants taught Mike Tolley how to cook quality food efficiently, it was the slower, lower-heat cooking that he enjoyed the most. So when he decided to open his own restaurant, Uncle Mike's Smokehouse, he eschewed traditional fast-food preparation in favor of the slow smoking that gives meat a rich, complex favor. He and his chefs grill everything from pork shanks and chicken wings to St. Louis?style barbecue and steaks. They don't just specialize in savory, smoky flavors, however. They also add a sweet note to meals with slices of cornbread, vanilla maple sweet potatoes, and bourbon-laced pecan pie.
It's not exactly 100 bottles of beer on the wall?in fact, it's more than three times that. Sourced from locations scattered across the globe, The Brass Tap boasts more than 40 brews on tap and hundreds upon hundreds of bottled craft beers. The selection ranges from Chimay Cinq Cents Tripel, a Belgian White imported straight from Baileux, to local brews like Cigar City's citrusy Jai Alai IPA. The drinks pair nicely with the down-home decor and toe-tapping lineup of musical acts, as well as the menu of premium cigars, sourced from places like Nicaragua, the Dominican, and Milton Berle's old sport coats.
After nearly 20 years spent working on the docks with his five younger brothers, Greek immigrant William Fotopoulos opened the first ABC Pizza in Connecticut in 1966. Today, each of its dozen central-Florida locations tosses dough with skill that suits the Fotopoulos mantra of "Always Better Crust." Custom specialty pizzas mingle feta and greek peppers with pepperoni and pineapple, and thin slices of gyro meat fill sandwiches. ABC Pizza also caters special events such as birthday parties, luncheons, and retrospectives of Bill Paxton's film career.
Black-and-white checkerboard floors lend an old-fashioned air to Land and Sea Market, though butchers have only been preparing fillets and chops there since 1995. Freshly carved meats fill the store's coolers, including lamb shanks, quick-fry pork chops, and bratwurst, as well as bone-in chicken breasts and an array of seafood such as halibut and littleneck clams. The butchers also package their own meats such as bacon-wrapped filet mignon, chicken cordon bleu, and bourbon-marinated salmon, often seasoning the meats with their own house blend of spices. In addition to its savory selection of proteins, the shop also stocks grocery items such as vegetables and wines from around the solar system.