Since 1968, Vendetti's has dished out Italian subs, salads, pizza, and pasta to a loyal clientele. The eponymous "Spanky" (a homemade sub roll stuffed with mozzarella, pepperoni, and signature red sauce for $5.75), is served fresh daily with a cup of oil and vinegar that it cannot resist dunking its dense, bready head in. Other favorites include meatball, grilled-chicken, and veggie subs and the turkey antipasto brimming with lettuce, turkey, swiss cheese, tomatoes, black olives, and pepper rings ($6.95). Take home a pizza ($6.49–$7.99) or family pasta dinner (serves five to eight people for $24.95) laden with homemade meat sauce and parmesan, plus salad and bread, to feed your family/friends/life-size cardboard cutouts of the 1974 Cincinnati Bengals. Enjoy a low-key meal in Vendetti's dining room, or carry out and dine at home, in the park, or on the roof of your old high school.
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 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.
Melted mozzarella. Garlic butter. Parmesan and romano cheeses. All of these ingredients combine atop the original Louie Bread. For the meat lovers, bacon or pepperoni can also be thrown into the mix. And this is just the bread: Louie's Pizza also whips up wings, subs, salads, and, of course, pizzas. Whether you order a deep-dish, thin-crust, or hand-tossed pie, each one begins with fresh dough, Louie's signature sauce, and a custom blend of mozzarella cheese. From there, you can customize your toppings or opt for one of Louie's specialty pies, such as Lotsa Meatza or Hawaiian Luau.
MaMa Mia Pizza's behemoth ten-topping pie threatens to crack its own crust, with piles of sausage, hamburger, bacon, and veggies on top. But here the pizza dough is crafted fresh every day, so it's dense enough to withstand layers upon layers of toppings, even if they're then topped by another pizza. Besides pizza, diners dig into calzones and subs, as well as the Corners of Mia, eight slices from the corner of the eatery's square-cut pies.