Each pie that emerges from Planet Pizza and Subs’ sweltering ovens begins as a pile of flour. Adding little more than pizza magic, in-house chefs pound this mound into fresh dough, and pies begin to take shape as the chefs stretch them into original, thin, or deep-dish crusts. A layer of scratch-made sauce and grated cheese anoints each new creation and cushions any combination of 26 toppings, which can also be packed into calzones for secure domestic shipment into hungry bellies. Many of Planet's other eats are also made by hand, including pastas, chicken soups, and cheesecakes.
Geppetto Restaurant opened in 1977, quickly perfuming its surroundings with the rich scents of housemade Italian food. Hints of roasting garlic, simmering tomatoes, and bubbling cheese still hang in the air, conjuring images of the cooks hard at work in the kitchen, spreading spicy sauce across inch-thick sicilian pizzas and laying steamed Prince Edward mussels on plates of housemade spaghetti. Overall, the menu takes a slightly Californian approach to Italian cuisine, as evidenced by its sautéed chicken and artichokes entree as well as its rich ricotta pies that are dusted with toasted almonds. Another nod to the West Coast is the eatery’s extensive wine list, which tallies more than 150 different bottles, 70 percent of which hail from the Golden State’s 24-karat gold soil.
In the mines of northeastern Pennsylvania, workers heave loads of clean-burning anthracite coal and ship them to businesses such as Coal Fire, where chefs scoop the same coal into their 900-degree ovens to bake pizzas and wings. Before baking the pies, the chefs hand-toss the aged dough, then cover it with their signature sauce and thick, house-made mozzarella cheese, as well as toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes and pepperoni procured from local merchants. Outside the kitchen, hardwood floors run past the warm, exposed brick of the ovens while servers slide across the polished floorboards, delivering platters of steaming pizzas and frosty drinks from the full bar.
Under the guidance of pie professionals Iris and Mike Wasserman, Pizza Stop's chefs handcraft batches of dough daily for pizzas in between artfully assembling subs, sandwiches, and pastas. The bacon pizza ($8.75 for 10", $14.75 for 16") rouses slumbering taste buds with a meaty wake-up call and the white pizza ($7.75 for 10", $12.75 for 16") eschews pigmentation for a savory, snow-hued canvas. Mouths can embark upon a Hellenic sojourn through the pita-swaddled chicken-souvlaki sandwich ($5.95), speckled with feta cheese, homemade ziti dressing, and tiny tomato Minotaurs. The steak-and-cheese sub ($5.75 for 7") quiets howling stomach sirens with a slab of 5-ounce rib eye and pastas such as lasagna ($8.95) toboggan down the esophagus. Diners can feel the breeze ripple through their knuckle hair in the outdoor eating area, weather and opportunistic clouds permitting.
With an emphasis on distinctive, Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, Pizza Tempo's pizzas stand apart from ordinary pies like a furry sports mascot at a state dinner. The pizzeria’s pie-pitchers throw toppings including grilled zucchini, corn, caramelized onions, gyro meat, and pistachio mortadella onto hand-tossed build-your-own margherita pizzas. Choose from a medley of gourmet specialty pies, such as the Tempo special pizza, with sucuk (a turkish beef sausage) joining fresh tomatoes, artichokes, olives, and mozzarella cheese in a circle of camaraderie, or opt for the meat lovers’ option, piling spicy beef franks, salami, meatball, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese atop a crisp crust ($11–$18). Meanwhile, Pizza Tempo’s boat-shaped pides change the shape of dining, carrying edible cargo including eggs, lamb, and feta cheese to gastronomic ports of call ($8–$10).
Jiffy Shoppes owner George Agouridis continues his family's 30-year legacy of good eats, treating bellies to a menu loaded with 23 subs, fresh pizzas, fried pickles, and breakfast sandwiches accented by his mother's specialty Greek dishes. Dining pairs devise new twists on a traditional favorite by diving into the gyro platter's appetizing display, rolling greek salad into thin slices of lamb or dipping crisp fries into the house's special tzatziki sauce. Jewel-toned glasses of red or white wine crown the meal, and may incite toasts to good company or the health of a newborn mayor.