The flavors of northern and southern Italy can be tasted from across the Atlantic at Stella D'oro. What seems like an impressive feat is actually quite simple: chef Sammy Cecunjanin just follows his family recipes. Dishes include classic pairings such as rigatoni, sausage, and white wine sauce, as well as heartier eats such as rack of lamb with a cognac sauce roasted into the meat. Unsurprisingly, lobster—which is the East Coast's official regional crustacean—finds its way onto the seafood-heavy menu by way of the lobster-filled ravioli, the lobster and pappardelle, and the lobster tail and linguini.
No, he wasn't born in Sicily. In fact—according to a 2011 article in the Boston Globe—Doug Ferriman started out in the pizza business without even knowing how to make dough. But he learned fast, besting 120 competitors and two Italian chefs to take second place at the International Pizza Challenge later that year. Ferriman is also one of only two people to have won the International Pizza Expo's Pizza of the Year honor more than once, in 2004 and 2007, according to trade magazine Pizza Today. Finally, in the 2013 competition, Ferriman won first in the non-traditional category in the northeast region.
Today, Ferriman brings his dough tossing know-how to Crazy Dough's Pizza, which he co-owns with his wife, Melissa. Their labor-of-love-turned-small-business-success-story, which has been documented in media outlets such as the Boston Business Journal, can be explained by their commitment to quality ingredients and diverse recipes. Their chefs start with a solid pizza foundation of North Dakota flour, vine-ripened California plum tomatoes, and Wisconsin cheese. Next, they transform raw dough into three pizza types: pan-baked, rectangular sicilian pies; hearty brick-oven rounds; or their specialty fire-grilled pizzas, cooked to a crispy, smoky finish on an open-flame hickory grill.
Finally, guests can choose from a huge selection of off-the-wall toppings and signature combinations, such as cheeseburger bacon or potato bacon cheddar. The shops also attract guests with $5 Pabst Blue Ribbon pitchers, calzones, and Crazy Dough Bowls—salads whose bread-bowl exterior can be eaten or worn as a savory hat.
Pastabilities Kitchen & Cafe specializes in DIY pastas—diners simply choose their favorite pasta, sauce, and add-ins to create a fully customized meal. To give diners plenty of options, the restaurant stocks eight sauces, seven meats, and 20 vegetables, including roasted red peppers, artichokes, and zucchini. They also bake fresh calzones each day and make meatball, sausage, and italian sandwiches to order.
Millonzi's Bar & Grille serves its elegant take on pizzas, burgers, and other grill food in a cozy West Warwick dining room. Chef Kevin Millonzi—who has overseen catering for presidents, governors, and the kings of various hills—makes recipes such as linguine with house-made basil pomodoro sauce and roasted salmon with scallion aioli. Corn salsa tops pork porterhouses, and grills fire pepperoni and margherita pizzas. Diners can gaze at sports on four televisions, sing karaoke on Friday nights, or play Keno games.
The Bradford first opened its doors 30 years ago as a neighborhood convenience store, supplying the community with groceries, newspapers, and quick lunches of classic Italian-American cuisine. Although the aisles may have disappeared, The Bradford remains dedicated to cozy, homestyle comfort foods that draw inspiration from the Old as well as the New World.
Pasta dishes, oven-crisped pizzas, and pan-seared seafood entrees fill the menu of familiar-sounding meals. The restaurant's chefs import prosciutto and make everything from meatballs to pesto sauce in-house. Dedicated as it is to Italian flavors, The Bradford acknowledges the region's culinary character by incorporating ingredients such as locally grown produce.
The Bradford's ambiance embraces a similarly familiar vibe. Exposed brickwork and high-topped wooden tables create an inviting setting amid the earth-toned walls lined with framed artwork. In the recently redesigned interior, pendant lamps dangle from the high ceilings, ensuring that the warm space remains well-lit and comfortable.