More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
When Jeremy Brown's wife was expecting her second child, the couple realized their small house wasn't going to fit a family of four. Upon moving to a 5-acre fixer upper outside Battle Ground, the pair raised their kids as Jeremy nurtured another project: using those acres to create his own winery.
Since starting with his quaint, Tuscan-inspired tasting room, Jeremy has expanded his grounds to include several large patios and a wood-fired oven in the kitchen, where chefs prepare pizzas and small plates. Live musicians grace Rusty Grape Vineyard's stage Wednesday–Saturday, adding soothing tunes that complement the tasting room's draft beers and rotating selection of wine by the glass and bottle. Available pours might include a 2011 riesling or a complex red wine whose hints of cranberry give way to an oatmeal-cookie finish.
Today’s Groupon answers the age-old question of whether or not pizza is square or 360 degrees. For $13, you get $30 worth of divine-crafted, artisan pizza and hand-selected brews at 360 Pizzeria, located in Vancouver, Washington. Paddle, propel, and cross the river for an experience no pizza lover can sanely ignore. Pizza Problems sold an unprecedented 300 copies in 1981, and was even briefly adapted into a Saturday morning animated series, although fans objected to Pepperoni’s portrayal as a softheaded comic foil. Activavision Studios recently announced plans for a 30th anniversary relaunch of the Pizza Problems franchise, a mature-rated gore fest featuring the sultry voice talents of David Hyde Pierce.
At Uptown Pasta, owner Tony Manuel shares his love of homestyle cooking with a menu that showcases rich, made-to-order pastas and traditional Italian entrees. Savory spheres of gnocchi à la bolognese simmer in a meaty sauce flavored with wine ($14), and meatballs or sausage pair with al dente tendrils of fresh spaghetti ($13¬–$14) to lasso traditional appetites or keep forks from flying away. Piping-hot ovens produce herb-rich delights such as the baked manicotti ($13) or meatless ziti baked Sicilian style with eggplant and cheese ($13), and seven specialty entrees sate heartier cravings for spicy shrimp fra diavolo ($13) or chicken pesto with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and linguine ($13). At the customer's request, chefs will readily swap traditional noodles for gluten-free pastas or add extra ingredients for $2.
Bellagios Pizza, locally owned and operated since 1996, brews ripe batches of tomato sauce and tosses fresh disks of dough daily at their Wilsonville location, while crews at each restaurant sprinkle pies with delicious toppings to create a menu loaded with pizzas, grinders, and calzones. Heaps of spinach, artichokes, and juicy tomatoes guide wandering bellies out of the desert with the Oasis pizza ($10–$19.99), while the Butcher Block throws a crust-top party of salami, pepperoni, canadian bacon, and italian sausage ($10–$19.99), coming together in hearty harmony like a chorus of lumberjacks. Diners interested in a wider variety of toppings or in teaching children about medieval class structure can opt for a pie cleanly divided down the middle, such as a half-cheese, half-pepperoni pizza ($8–$17.99). Slathered with pizza sauce and adorned with meaty toppings, the Bellagio grinder ($5.99) competes with a host of calzones ($10.99) for the silver medal to the pizza menu's gold.
Garlic Jim's menu was handcrafted with nothing more than a dream and an incredible reserve of pizza-making expertise. Open an order with some gourmet chicken wings, available in barbecue, garlic, and hot, before moving on to pizza territory. Put an end to eating Legos by piecing together a custom pie. Choose from the hand-thrown thick, garlic thin, or gluten-free crusts, slathered in one of seven sauces (from classic red to zesty chipotle pesto), and then slap on any of 15 standard and 11 gourmet toppings (14-inch large pizzas start at $11.99, extra-large $14.99; each additional topping for a large is $1.50). To achieve customization without the stress of having to choose, turn to one of the pre-determined specialties. Meat-maul hunger with the Hercules (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, spicy Italian sausage, and bacon; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large), or discover the secret of pizza-temperature fusion in your head with Jim's bacon-cheeseburger pizza (beef, bacon, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cheddar; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large).