The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Each pasta entree at Caprino's Restaurant begins as a mound of fresh dough. From there, chefs turn it into linguine and spaghetti and tuck butternut squash into ravioli pockets. The stuff that goes on top is also house-made, naturally: meatballs, garlic-basil cream, olive-oil/chardonnay sauce.
Pasta may reign supreme, but the menu also holds other hearty entrees, including grilled-to-order rib eye, prosciutto pizza, and chicken marsala. Sunday brunch even departs from this Italian template a bit, adding southwest-inspired dishes and catfish and grits to red-white-and-green-flecked sandwiches and scrambles.
Caprino's handsome, wood-accented dining room is equally welcoming to adults and adults-in-training. There's a full bar and, naturally, a deep wine list, split about evenly between Italy and California. But there's also a kids' menu with fun options such as mini burgers and a "dirty mashed potato" topped with bacon, cheese, and, eventually, tiny fingerprints.
Pasquale's West Coast Pizzeria delights its guests with a smorgasbord of pizzas. Chefs prepare each one with an original, skinny, or pan crust, and offer the option of creating your own pie or choosing a specialty. The Maui Gourmet pizza, for example, comes loaded with bacon, pineapple, ham, roma tomatoes, onions, and sweet chili sauce.
Hearty baked pastas and cold and toasted deli subs are available as well. To cheese-stuffed ravioli or ham and turkey heroes, diners might add crispy, golden-brown garlic bread and some draft beer. Moreover, philanthropic patrons can gather at Pasquale's for fundraisers, with the pizzeria donating 25% of the proceeds and reserving the last slice of pie for any nonprofit.
Vienna Pizzaria, previously known as The Pizza Guys, extinguishes hunger with customizable pies that headline a full menu of fresh, casual Italian and American fare. Dough molders draw from an arsenal of 38 classic and exotic toppings⎯including everything from clams and boiled eggs to corn and hearts of palm⎯to festoon 16-inch large pizzas. Guests may also take the old-fashioned route with tried-and-true embellishments such as pepperoni and mushrooms, creating a meal as traditional as an edible Norman Rockwell painting. Additionally, house salads squash vegetable cravings with a flurry of ingredients, including kidney beans, cucumbers, and black olives.
Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake Pizza was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of his signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. His appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
Broccoli, zucchini, clams, and linguica sausage. They’re not the kinds of pizza toppings you find at every Italian restaurant, but at Luigi’s, chefs give each bite of hand-tossed pizza the potential to truly evoke the flavors of Italy. While seated on padded maroon chairs, guests can dig into the eatery’s other specialties such as seafood risotto and eggplant parmigiana, or pasta dishes that include linguini with clams and house-made gnocchi. Guests sipping on glasses of Californian or Italian wine can admire framed artwork of old-country landscapes or glance outside one of the restaurant's many windows in hopes that a vineyard has suddenly sprouted up across the street.