Meal maestros at Fontana's Italian Bistro festoon New York–style pizzas, hearty pastas, and hot or cold subs with fresh ingredients imported from Italy. After poring over the menu, diners can order six garlic knots ($2.50) to jump-start appetites or tie off half a dozen ponytails. Carnivorous incisors slice into the 18-inch extra-large meat lover's stuffed pizza ($24.99) or the sicilian deep-dish pizza with cheese and sausage ($16.99), and veggie-leaning palates can opt for the flora-filled flavor of the eggplant parmigiana sub ($5.99). Forks twirl into creamy beds of linguine with white clam sauce ($7.99), and taste buds heat up with the shrimp diablo ($10.99), a dish spicier than a tabloid feature on Posh, Baby, and Scary.
When the titular owner of Mr. Jim's Pizza founded his first eatery in 1975, he wasn't planning to be there for long. Instead, he hoped his business profits would help him to open his own franchise of McDonald's, where he'd worked part-time to put himself through college. Soon, however, the success of his shop led to the opening of several more locations in Garland, as well as franchises across the state. Today, Mr. Jim presides over dozens of Texas pizza joints, where chefs hand-stretch freshly made dough to create their trademark pizzas. Loaded with fresh mozzarella, crisp veggies, and real meat toppings, these pies fill tables and takeout boxes alongside appetizers such as wings and bread sticks dipped in fresh tomato sauce.
While growing up in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, Paolo Siciliano acquired a passion for traditional southern Italian food from his mother, Maria, who cooked for his family every day. After moving to the United States, Siciliano pursued his dreams of serving fresh pastas baked with mozzarella cheeses, opening his first restaurant in 1981.
The restaurant has always been a family business, with all nine of the Siciliano children working at the restaurant at points in its history. Today, Paolo's son Brian serves as a chef, adding his own twist to the family recipes as his crew bakes pans of the restaurant's complimentary buttery garlic rolls alongside their housemade lasagna. After spending 21 years under the same roof, baking manicotti and preparing fresh dough, Paolo and his wife Fran decided to upgrade to a new location, where Roman-style columns flank booths, and vivid paintings depict gondoliers reaching out through the frame to grab diners' plates of tiramisu.
At Rosati's, specialty pizzas cavort with traditional pastas across a sprawling smorgasbords of a menu featuring classic Italian dishes. Equipped with a family recipe more than a century old, the pie personnel spin Chicago-style deep-dish disks ($10.99 for a 12"; $17.99 for an 18") with chunky tomato sauce and deliciously gooey cheese slathered upon a buttery, pan-cooked thick crust. Unlike horror films starring frozen vegetables, the Rosati's Monster pizza ($17.55 for a 12"; $29.05 for an 18") terrifies hunger pangs thanks to its hearty ensemble cast of 11 toppings, including ground beef and canadian bacon. Engage grub receptacles with the baked mostaccioli ($7.75), a mozzarella-infused Old World pasta dish, or impress a geologist with the complex layers of homemade baked lasagna ($7.50). Buffalo wings come decked out in hot, mild, or BBQ dressing, while the garden salad combines mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers into an herbivore's delight.
Palio’s Pizza Café may boast multiple locations, but the cuisine is unique to each kitchen. The restaurant’s chefs commit to serving specialty pizzas on handmade dough, crafted from high-protein, red-bran wheat. They top this crust with all-natural marinara and pizza sauces, real mozzarella cheese, and farm-fresh produce. The blending of fine ingredients produces some classic and more unusual pies, ranging from a meat lover’s with four staple pizza proteins to a pie that combines roasted flavors of poultry and cashews.
Of course, the restaurant’s commitment to quality doesn’t end with their food. They also invest time in making community events special. They regularly participate in fundraisers for high-school bands, charities such as the Arthritis Foundation, and local Scout troupes and chicken coops.
In 1969, Colonel Eure opened the first Mr. Gatti's Pizza in Austin. The small pizza shop—which received its moniker from his wife’s maiden name—focused on handcrafting pies using real cheese, yeast-risen dough, and a signature tangy sauce. Today, more than 40 years later, the Mr. Gatti’s Pizza has expanded into 140+ locations across 13 states. But despite the brand’s growth, its mission to make quality eats remains the same.
At one of Mr. Gatti’s appetizing outposts, patrons can build-their-own pie with fresh toppings, or select favorite pizzas such as the bacon double cheeseburger loaded with smoked provolone, beef, and bacon. Sides including four-cheese breadsticks and spicy chicken wings round out plates, and dessert pizzas topped with apples and streusel offer a sweet end to a savory meal. The restaurants also provide hot and cold buffet bars, allowing guests to sample every item on the menu without having to sneak into the kitchen.