For many businesses, running out of dough would be a bad sign. For The Place, it's an indicator of their popularity and their insistence on quality?they stop making pizzas for the day once all of the fresh dough is gone. Until then, pies arrive dappled with Italian sausage and sweet caramelized onions, or grilled squash and roasted red peppers. You can also order many pizzas neatly packaged as a calzone.
As for the rest of the menu, it evokes Italy with handmade meatballs, lunchtime paninis, and classic meat dishes such as chicken marsala with seasonal mushrooms. Pastas range from linguine with clams in a white wine and lemon sauce to penne with pesto. To kick the feasting up to the ears, Friday and Saturday evenings see Michael Antuzzi weaving Italian and American musical influences into the atmosphere. The musician sets a romantic tone with the help of a little jazz piano and a dulcet dose of accordion.
Conveyor belt pizza has long been the industry standard for most pizza outlets. But at Fast Freddies Pizzeria, it's the brick oven that makes all the difference. Birthed in fire rather than atop electric coils, hot pies come out crackling with crispy crusts destined for the guillotine of excited incisors. Toppings such as pepperoni, meatball, bacon, sausage, chorizo, and chicken pounce upon mounds of cheese, marinara, or alfredo sauce, along with refreshing veggies such as spinach, cilantro, basil, and jalapenos. Pasta, salad, sandwiches, and wings also fill the menu, along with a bevy of beverages such as wine, soft drinks, and draft beer typically doled out in pitchers.
The first Cool River Pizza opened 14 years ago with a mission to serve handcrafted pies made from fresh ingredients and California cheese in a family-friendly environment. All of the dough is made fresh daily and each pizza sports Cool River's homemade sauce accented with more than seven herbs, spices, and umlauts. Over the years, Cool River Pizza has grown from a solo outfit to a family of restaurants in California and Indiana. Inside each location, televisions illuminate dining rooms packed with long wooden tables and board games for families to play while waiting for their orders.
For more than 50 years, Round Table Pizza has fired up the appetites of flavor-starved foodies with a host of appetizers, crisp salads, and topping-laden disks. Dough is made from scratch using wheat sourced from the company's family farms, ensuring that the bready foundations of mainstays, such as the barbecue chicken pizza ($17.90 for a medium), are fresh and familiar with agricultural machinery. House creation King Arthur Supreme takes charge of nearby chompers, guiding them through an invasion of pepperoni, italian sausage, salami, linguica, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives, and more ($12.75 for a small). Meanwhile, the Wombo Combo tempts taste buds with crisp bacon, mushrooms, roma tomatoes, artichoke hearts, green onions, and a medley of magnanimously portioned meats ($7.30 for a personal size). Inspiration-stricken patrons can design their own pie or swing by the all-you-can-eat salad bar ($5.29) to adorn lush leaves with tasty toppings under the glow of the light bulb growing from their foreheads.
Since its first pizzeria opened in 1978 in Palo Alto, Mountain Mike’s Pizza has stretched to encompass more than 150 restaurants throughout the West Coast. From the meat-laden Pike’s Peak to the vegetarian-friendly Mt. Veggiemore, 12 specialty pizzas—most of them named after mountains—arrive in portions from small to extra large, which can feed up to eight patrons or spark nostalgia in homesick, city-dwelling mountain goats. Diners can also choose their own conglomeration of ingredients, ranging from Louisiana-style hot links to sun-dried tomatoes, and supplement pies with an all-you-can-eat salad bar or a quintet of appetizer options including wings and jalapeño poppers.
The oven admirals at Straw Hat Pizza bake an extensive fleet of California-style pizza. The kitchen team prepares each crust to pack a flaky, crispy, crunch-causing texture, creating a sturdy foundation capable of supporting cheese, sauce, toppings, and hardbound copies of Mark McGwire's autobiography. A large chicken-bacon-ranch pizza saturates taste-sensory apparatuses with a dual-meat format and a vegetable cast of tomatoes and red onions, and the large aloha chicken merges chicken, ham, pineapple, and bacon on a highway of barbecue and red sauce (each $17.99 for a 15"). Vegetarians can imbibe the windfall of grown ingredients that fill out the large California veggie pie—a conference of zucchini, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spices, and white sauce ($17.99 for a 15"). Straw Hat Pizza also puts together an impressive roster of hot sandwiches, such as the sauce-packed meatball version ($5.49).