At Coal, chefs stoke fiery coals inside the kitchen's pizza oven, which bakes the eatery's signature thin-crust pizzas at temperatures of up to 800 degrees. Pizzas emerge from the oven with a lightly charred, crispy crust and crowned with toppings such as meatballs, prosciutto, truffle oil, and caramelized onions. Coal also bakes its sandwiches in the pizza oven, including the saltimbocca Giorgio, with prosciutto and mozzarella on housemade bread, and roasts its chicken wings over the same glowing embers.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
At A'Tavola Ristorante, Chef George Fusco draws on his 20 years of experience to prepare a menu of elegant Italian entrees from scratch in an open kitchen. He and his kitchen staff top linguine with littleneck clams and fra-diavolo sauce and souse veal milanese in sherry vinaigrette and a balsamic-reduction sauce. For dessert, they whip up freshly filled cannolis, sugar-speckled crème brûlées, and new york–style cheesecakes, whose crusts are perpetually under construction.
The pizza slingers at Papa John's toss each doughy discus by hand, and top their signature sauce with decadent mozzarella, fresh vegetables, and quality meats. Pie Picassos design two pies with up to two toppings each, and can commission a portrait of baby portobello mushrooms and spicy italian sausage posing against a backdrop of chewy crust or forge a blend of three cheeses smattered with crispy bacon. Tongues tiring of pizza's circular logic can take between-bite breaks with a side of breadsticks or parmesan-garlic breadsticks. A splashy two-liter beverage keeps taste buds on their toes. Order online to arrange a pickup or delivery, or visit a Papa John's location to dine right where the cheese sticks are harvested.
The dough slingers at Uncle Carmines University dish-up 16-inch rounds loaded with cheese to form the bulwark of meals. Like the best break-dancers, Cluck-U wings are boneless and wearing a spicy outfit of one of seven sauces, graded by heat. Mild-mannered tongues opt for honey hickory, and the bravest of taste buds prove their mettle with a thermo-nuclear sauce, with a two-liter soda on call to prevent mouth meltdowns. Game-day hosts peruse the ample catering menu to order trays of penne alla vodka ($35/half tray; $65/full tray), and monster-mash hostesses request a meaty london broil loaded with potatoes, onions, and garlic to keep vampires from hogging the bag toss ($55/half tray; $100 full tray).
A few hours before Mamma Mia Pizzeria opens for the day, the chefs turn on the ovens and begin to prepare their pizzas, scattering dough with specialty toppings like fresh mozzarella, grilled chicken, and homemade tomato garlic sauce. They arrange the colorful pies along the pristine front counter, alongside bowls of freshly baked garlic-bread knots and baskets of the crusty baguettes they slice up for Boar's Head meat subs. The pizzeria fare soon makes its way out to diners relaxing in an area with colorful pennants and sports photographs adorning the walls.