Cooks at The Pizza Box hand toss fresh dough into a base for each of their 70 different pie variations, and it's that kind of dedication to diverse dough disks that earned them silver in the HamptonRoads.com's 2012 Best of Hampton Roads. The topping combinations range from internationally inspired blends such as the France—with potato, rosemary, and goat cheese—to the Morocco, which has figs, falafel, chicken, and cucumber. They also make domestic-inspired pies like the California, a blend of squash, sundried tomato, and mozzarella the exact shade of white as the snow atop the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Though flavorful Italian cuisine is at the core of Cogan's Pizza, taste buds aren’t the only sensory receptors that perk up when visiting the vibrant eatery. The interior provides a visual feast with huge chandeliers casting subtle twinkles across pressed-tin ceilings and walls covered with posters and music memorabilia. The music motif also engages ears and vocal cords with regular live performances and karaoke.
At the bar, more than 30 beers flow from a lineup of seasonally rotating taps, each carbonated with the perfect number of bubbles to wash down cheesy and meaty pies. For patrons who adhere to a more plant-based diet, the cooks can also top crusts with faux meats, soy cheese, or an evil aunt’s favorite orchid. Pasta dishes, hot sandwiches, and subs stacked with roasted chicken, italian sausage, or roast beef round out the menu.
Each of Wing Zone’s 15 sauces comes accompanied with a number. The digit doesn't signify the amount of ingredients, nor is it a tool for easier ordering. Rather, the sauce’s number, much like the scores given to candidates during presidential debates, denotes a spectrum of spiciness, with 1 being mild and 4 being too hot for its own good. Original wings, boneless nuggets, and crispy fried shrimp come dressed in up to four of the zesty flavors, such as garlic parm, Ragin’ Cajun, and, the hottest of the hot, Nuclear habanero. Aside from dressing up chicken and fish, the Wing Zone kitchen also churns out plainly dressed chicken tenders, stacks of burgers with bacon and cheese, and extinguishes burning taste buds with banana cheesecake or chocolate brownie bites.
Dough flies through the air as chefs hand-toss pies inside the partially open kitchen at Mona Lisa Pizza. After thin and thick crusts are sprinkled with toppings such as bacon, meatballs, and broccoli, a quick tenure in the oven melts them in a blanket of mozzarella cheese. In the dining room, servers set finished pies atop red-and-white-checkered tablecloths, where they bubble next to celebrity-inspired sandwiches such as “The Stallone” and “The Sinatra.” On Friday and Saturday nights, the eatery transitions from a casual grill to a bar-like atmosphere. A DJ spins tunes and bartenders mix drinks while, on the wall, a framed picture of Mona Lisa smirks about having filled all of Da Vinci’s salt shakers with sugar.
The family-run Fellini’s satiates salivating diners with delectable Italian cuisine, presented in an inviting European-style café. With 22 gourmet pizzas ($11.50–$13.50), Fellini’s can present a pie for even the pickiest of taste buds, such as the Hawaiian pizza that brims with crushed pineapple, sliced Virginian ham, and sweet gruyere cheese. Pasta purveyors can sample Fellini’s rigatoni ($12.95), doused with an herbed tomato sauce and sprinkled with sweet Italian sausage, fresh basil, garlic, and green olives.