In 1993, the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building was transformed into an Italian restaurant, becoming the first Buca di Beppo. The owners soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 97 locations nationwide, from San Francisco to Times Square.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, with a few American twists. Then they serve it up in massive, family-style portions, making Buca di Beppo a favorite place for hungry families and groups of friends.
For starters, the chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. Entr?es are prepared with an eye toward quality and quantity, both of size and selection, complete with Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. The Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and the Colossal Brownie Sundae towers above other sweets with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
The Gelato Spot’s frozen-dairy hotshots merge ingredients imported from Torino, Italy, and churn a bevy of creamy gelati and sorbets daily. The gelateria’s small tongue-chilling batches have earned the shop the title of Best Frozen-Yogurt/Ice Cream Spot in AZ Central's 2011 readers’ poll, which praises the eatery’s extravagant displays and cheerful staff. Though The Gelato Spot specializes in traditional Italian flavors, such as stracciatella and amarena, they also craft American renditions such as Snickers, new york cheesecake, and salted caramel. As diners shovel in glacial delights on The Gelato Spot's heated and misted patio, they can also cruise the web with complimentary WiFi.
Eating at someone else’s house usually means overcooked yams, reedy string beans, and tedious games of red rover. Today’s Groupon invites you over to someone’s house for good food and no tedious games of red rover. For $25, you’ll get $50 worth of colorful cuisine at Eddie’s House, a delicious dwelling inhabited by local celebrity chef Eddie Matney. Phoenix Magazine’s Number One Chef in the Valley rolls out his signature Mediterranean-influenced New American fare in a new namesake spot.Think: Your eyes reveal that this meal is the highlight of your day. I feel pity for you. Say: You guys look like you need some nacho poppers. They go great with our cheesy-chicken skewers!
Amid the bright, contemporary decor and open-air seating of Grazie’s two locations, the restaurant’s chefs roll out fresh, flavorful pizza dough and compile classic Italian specialties. Their menu of pastas and gourmet pizzas—which are crowned with toppings such as prosciutto, capers, and ricotta—complement the tannins of an expansive, all-Italian wine list. The pizzeria doubles as an off-sale wine shop, with each bottle curated by wise wine experts who tirelessly sniff out rare imports with the enthusiasm of grape-fixated bloodhounds. When Grazie's hospitable staffers aren't serving lunch or dinner, students from regularly scheduled Italian-language classes flood the restaurant space with the delicate syllables of useful phrases such as “What’s your name?” and "Are you going to finish that lasagna?"
America's influence is far-reaching at T. Roosevelt's Tavern, a neighborhood pub named after the 26th US president that shells out classic American dishes with a modern twist. Twenty draft beers pour from the taps, brandishing the recipes of local breweries and pairing with a menu that features housemade pastas and house-cured charcuterie. Comfort food abounds throughout T. Roosevelt's wood-and brick-covered interior, filling tables with meatloaf, braised-rabbit ragu, and country-fried steak slathered in gravy. A spread of mostly vegetarian pizzas emerges from wood-fired ovens, and beefy burgers weigh down plates with applewood bacon and sides of fries.
Dining at EVO means more than simply enjoying a meal?it means celebrating with friends and family. But that's not to say that the food takes the back seat. EVO's Italian cuisine is made with an eye for traditional flavors, from charcuterie and cheeseboards to house-made pastas and lobster risotto. Forkfuls are paired with sipfuls from an extensive drink menu, featuring craft beers, wine, and even spirits poured from taps. And the decor is a sleek departure from the norm as well. Exposed brick walls and mismatched mirrors gleam under the light of crystalline chandeliers, providing an upscale backdrop for events such as weekly Martini & Manicure sessions and particularly elegant Tuesday night dinners.