In the kitchen of Mauro's Pizza & Pasta, cooks make yeast-leavened dough by hand using organic flour as other cooks slow-cook tomato sauce with locally grown organic vegetables and herbs. Handcrafted signature pizzas such as the Genovese sport artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto, and custom pies are available in diverse combinations. For takeout, daily entree specials include artichoke lasagna with tomato-cream sauce and handmade ravioli pouches stuffed with butternut squash and walnut-sage brown butter—each designed to fill family dinner tables or family neck-mounted trays if tables have already been eaten.
The San Francisco Chronicle highlighted Gaspare's Pizzeria Ristorante Bar in its "Pizza of the Week" feature in 2008, in part due to the cooks who "work the dough like artists" to create the 27 different pies. Owned and operated by Gaspare, Daniel, and Robin Indelicato since 1985, the flagship San Francisco location showcases a vintage flair. The dining room sports murals of Bay Area scenes and jukeboxes blasting Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin tunes. There’s even a ceiling draped with grapevines and bottles of chianti, which the servers trained to think they are bats. A second location opened in San Rafael in 2007. For his menu of Italian cuisine, Gaspare draws on his upbringing in Siculiana, Sicily, baking pans of bubbling lasagna alongside pizzas such as the feta-flecked mediterranean special. To round out meals, Robin Indelicato bakes her signature New York–style cheesecake and Italian-style tiramisu, which patrons may pair with espresso or a glass of imported Italian wine.
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.
Generating 26.5 kilowatts, the solar panels atop Stefano's Solar Powered Pizza convert the sun’s rays into delicious pizza, earning the eatery recognition a Bay Area Green Business. Inside, ovens house pizzas such as the chicken garlic veggie pie or the Mill Valley favorite, known for its pepperoni, mushrooms, italian sausage, and firm handshakes. Calzones and hot sandwiches are sprinkled throughout the menu alongside fresh romaine salads, slices of pesto cheese garlic bread, and sips of wine or draft beer. Stefano's Solar Powered Pizza also helps with fundraising for schools, sports teams, and community organizations.
Extreme Pizza is not your run-of-the-mill, ma-and-pa pizza shop. Here, the cooks pile their house-baked crusts with a slew of uncommon combinations, including the ginger-peanut-sauce-marinated chicken strewn across the Kickin? Chicken pizza, which is also topped with peanuts, green onions, swiss, fontina, mozzarella, and fresh cilantro. The Paia Pie may seem standard with pineapple and Canadian bacon, but the addition of mandarin oranges and its mozzarella-cheddar blend make it more unique than a unicorn with two horns. As an alternative to the pies, freshly baked calzones, creatively loaded salads, monster subs, and chicken wings also populate the menu.
Though using all-natural and locally grown ingredients is becoming popular in today’s restaurants, Straw Hat Pizza has been dedicated to these forward-thinking practices since serving its first pie on July 10, 1959. For more than 50 years, Straw Hat Pizza has followed some very down-to-earth guidelines: tomatoes are handpicked and hand-sorted from its own fields, cheeses are free from fillers, and all produce originates from within 150 miles of the store. Of course, this is pizza, so the local focus is accented by Old-World practices. For example, the Idaho wheat is grown in volcanic soil at least 4,500 feet above sea level, according to Italian pizza and pasta tradition.
Straw Hat’s pizzas, like the best blind dates, arrive dressed in a diverse selection of veggie and meat toppings⎯such as lemon-pepper chicken, chorizo, and bell peppers⎯but pies aren’t its only signature item. In the 1970s, Straw hat introduced the Hot Hat, a stromboli-style sandwich stuffed with melted cheese and ham, meatballs, or pepperoni. Additionally, the cooks whip up an eclectic choice of sides, including onion-battered green beans and garlic-parmesan bread sticks.