Satisfying meals and handcrafted beer intersect with premium sports viewing at Lamppost Pizza and Backstreet Brewery, founded in 1976 by Angelo Barro and his sons, Dan and Tom. Today, the franchise welcomes patrons to 37 locations in three states, and the philosophy remains the same at all of them. Seven big-screen TVs broadcast football, basketball, and baseball games from around the leagues to entertain patrons sipping small-batch draft beers brewed onsite. Fans munch on traditional sports-viewing snacks, such as jalape?o poppers, potato skins, and buffalo wings. Chefs also prepare heartier entrees including garlic-chicken pasta, Pesto Supreme pizzas covered with artichoke hearts, and The Linebacker, a pizza loaded with pepperoni, salami, ground beef, sausage, and two types of bacon.
At La Riviera Family Pizza, chefs slather homemade sourdough crust with marinara, artichoke, or pesto sauce before piling on toppings such as whole-milk mozzarella cheese, salami, and sundried tomatoes. Gourmet toppings also fill calzones, which ooze with a blend of melted mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta cheeses. Other Italian specialties include homemade pasta dishes such as lasagna and ravioli and sandwiches such as meatball subs and roast beef au jus.
It's almost a tradition now: seasoned staff members of Krony's Pizza love the business so much that they open their own location. After three decades, this rite of passage has brought Krony's third location from its home in upstate New York to the West coast. Amid bright orange walls and checkered floors, homemade pizzas depart the oven steaming in white, pink, or red sauce beside hot subs, hearty wraps, and fresh salads. The eatery's free WiFi allows easy access to email or pointers on protecting the roof of one's mouth from impatient chomping on too-hot pizza.
For Gourmet Pizza Shoppe owners Bill, Don, and Scott, the standard assortment of pizza toppings isn't enough. Though pepperoni, sausage, and black olives are certainly part of its repertoire, the trio also stocks exotic ingredients such as mashed potatoes, peanut butter, and crabmeat?making a total of more than 120 toppings. Strewn across dough made fresh each day, these morsels form custom build-your-own pies or dozens of specialty pizzas, ranging from classic eggplant parmesan to the out-there Mini Pearl, loaded with country gravy, mashed potatoes, and fried chicken.
At the downtown location, taps pour out more than 20 regional microbrews, including several from Redlands brewery's Hangar 24 and Ritual. After meals, customers can request six types of dessert pizzas to adorn the tables' green-gingham tablecloths or their imaginary pet dragons' green-gingham tongues.
Continuing the Italian tradition of pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice), Pizzeria Venti hand-tosses a handful of oven-baked, circular pies teeming with trans-fat-free toppings. Like a repertory theater, Venti's homespun crust acts as a stage for more than 20 pizza performances. The pillowy crusts are pedestals for varieties such as house-made italian sausage, seasoned with fennel, fresh basil, and herbs ($3.50 for a slice) or chicken vesuvio which touts a roasted breast of chicken, mushrooms, black olives and garlic ($4.75 per slice). Though pizza prevails as Venti's main attraction, the menu is also stocked with baked pastas ($6.50+), salads ($6+), and soups ($3+) to create a culinary lineup that is more well-rounded than a reconstructed Humpty Dumpty.
The original New York?style pizzas at Times Square New York Style Pizzeria begin with a hand-tossed crust. Then, the chefs cover the disc with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and oregano?a simple combination that yields a flavorful punch. Of course, the pizza chefs don?t shy away from piling on the toppings, with such specialty pies as the bacon double cheeseburger and the tropical hawaiian. Pies can be made gluten free for those with allergies or sensitivities, and toppings can be stuffed into calzones for those with a fear of triangular foods. Staffers serve draft beers by the pint glass, pitcher, or thimble.