When Jerry Simonetti was a young boy, his grandmother told him, “when you grow up, you’re going to be a chef.” She had plenty of evidence to back up her theory: as a child, Jerry spent hours in the kitchen watching her prepare traditional Italian dishes from scratch. Sure enough, after graduating from college he embarked on a 20-year career as a chef and restaurateur that culminated in the opening of his own restaurant—Simonetti’s.
To create Simonetti’s menu of pizza and pasta, Jerry relies on generations of family recipes and simple, fresh ingredients. Specialty pizzas exemplify the eatery’s focus on simplicity: most contain three toppings or fewer including fresh basil, ricotta cheese, and cured meats. In keeping with a true Italian dining experience, Simonetti’s carries a selection of affordable wines, and waiters deliver all dishes via gondola.
Johnny B’s friendly chefs welcome families to relax over a hand-tossed pie, baked wings, and hoagies in a festive, colorful dining room. Families sharing dinner glance over the menu to pick an appetizer such as baked salt-and-pepper wings or garlic-butter pretzel drops as addictive as stealing candy from babies. For pizza, the classic Big Toad is crowded with savory bacon, beef, and ham balanced with crunches of green pepper and black olive. An alternative to traditional mozzarella and tomato sauce, the Frozen Pond pie spreads a base of oil and garlic under tomatoes, onions, and three cheeses to bake a pie as cheesy as an Elvis impersonator raised on a dairy farm. A team of tasty wraps, hoagies, and pockets tempts diners to stray from the pizza list in favor of a buffalo-chicken wrap seasoned with ranch, Bulliard’s hot sauce, and gooey provolone or a Johnny’s club hoagie accepting membership from ham, cheese, turkey, and bacon, if it gets its act together. If diners drop in between Monday and Wednesday, they can split delicious desserts such as the house-favorite cinnamon drops.
New York-style thin-crust pizza headlines the menu at Market Street Pizza. Each disc is made to order in classic and creative combinations, such as the cheeseburger pie topped with dill-pickle chips and mustard or the super chicken pizza, which arrives dressed with mushrooms, bacon, provolone, and a bulletproof cape. Pizza toppings also take cover in calzones stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and subs clench fillings inside white or wheat hoagie rolls.
In the kitchen at Mario’s Pizza, chefs heap cheese, steak, and sun-dried tomatoes onto oversize New York–style and sicilian pizza crusts. A white pizza covered in ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, and mozzarella reminds taste buds of eating a delicious snowman, and comes in sizes ranging from 10 inches to as large as 19 inches. Baked pasta and sandwiches, such as a philly steak or veal parmigiana, round out the menu.
The same love for pizza and beer that fueled three college students in 1974 transformed their lives as they expanded their business from one rundown building in Atlanta to 100 Mellow Mushroom restaurants across 15 states today. Each eatery owes its individual style to each location's being locally owned and operated, much like impressionist painters owed their individual style to their number of ears. In the kitchens, chefs assemble grilled and deli-style hoagies and bake calzones and pizzas in stone hearths using dough made with natural spring water. Though many of the restaurant's dishes have remained on the menu since its inception, the culinary crew frequently devises new, often gluten-free, dishes to keep senior-ranking pepperonis from becoming too powerful. Servers pair dishes with their location's own set of local brews, which fit into a collection of up to 100 microbrewed and imported beers on tap and in bottles. Brewers such as Bell's, Abita, and Dogfish Head are also featured in regular beer events.
Fox?s Pizza Den?s cooks serve up pizza dough hand-tossed in the New York style and festooned with one of 16 toppings. Gastronomes can ignite their stomach fires by ingesting flint stones or crunching into a crisp garden salad tossed with tomatoes, fresh-cut basil, and cheddar cheese. Next, feasters can bite through hearty or crispy crusts, where gooey cheese and house-made sauce merge beneath a sprinkling of fresh toppings, such as pepperoni, hot banana peppers, or pineapple. Appetizers such as breadsticks can accompany each delectable disk, arriving at tables fresh from the oven and ready to be dunked in marinara sauce or over the head of an NBA forward.