Domino's recently reformulated its pizza recipe, which puts the buyer in command of a plentitude of pie-personalizing possibilities. Test the sturdiness of a hand-tossed thin crust with mounds of hearty marinara, ham, chicken, green peppers, black olives, and spinach, or fill a deep-dish foundation with alfredo sauce, bacon, onions, jalapeños, fresh mushrooms, and banana peppers. While delicious design options stretch into infinity like a taffy pull in a black hole, the eatery's specialty pizzas make choosing more manageable. Peruse pies like the MeatZZa Feast, which is piled high with pepperoni, ham, italian sausage, beef, and extra mozzarella, and the Pacific Veggie, a flashy West Coast–concoction of roasted red peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, feta, mozzarella, and provolone.
At Ray's Pizza, specialty pies rub culinary elbows with Italian mainstays including hot and cold subs and stromboli. Deluxe pies combine the tastes of pepperoni, italian sausage, ham, mushrooms, onion, green peppers, and black olives; other specialties include a greek pizza, a Mediterranean treat with olive oil, spinach, black olives, and feta and mozzarella cheese. Build-your-own pies let customers tops crusts with one of seven different sauces before loading them with toppings such as pepperoni, olives, pineapple, and chicken and wearing them right out of the store. Subs run the sandwich gamut from philly cheesesteak to chicken parm, and desserts include Snickers cake, fluffy tiramisu, and italian zeppole—fried dough dusted with cinnamon and sugar.
HotBox Pizza’s cooks adorn three varieties of hand-tossed dough canvases with six savory sauces, cheeses, and 26 toppings to create a menu of dine-in, takeout, and delivery pies. The signature HotBox combines double spicy pepperoni and banana peppers, and Big Al’s Fredo fights off pernicious poultry cravings with a combination of chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, and banana peppers. Aspiring pizza architects can blueprint their own pies by laying down traditional, thin, or multigrain foundations and selecting from six varieties of sauce-carpeting. Doughy disks simmer with mozzarella, ricotta, Wisconsin cheddar, or fontina cheeses to hold down up to four toppings such as pepperoni and artichoke hearts. Circle-eaters can also save room in their knapsacks or hollow shoe-heels for fresh salad and bundles of breadsticks that come with nacho-cheese, pizza, ranch, or garlic sauce, and wash down stubborn bites with refreshing slurps of soda.
Moonlight Pizza Company doesn't settle for traditional pizzas. Instead, their artisan chefs sprinkle pies with more than 50 gourmet toppings, including avocado slices, pine nuts, and shiitake mushrooms, and construct gluten-free crusts upon request. They extend the same care to the rest of their menu, which spans a variety of casual Italian dishes, such as calzones, antipasto, and strombolis. Their salads come with a choice of six dressings that, like US ambassadors' gingerbread body doubles, are made from scratch each day. Their Farm to Fork Craft Menu presents guests with new entree options each month while continuing to use locally grown ingredients.
Outside, tree-covered outdoor seating on two recently improved patios complements mouthwatering slices and buttery crusts. Inside, bright-green walls create a vibrant backdrop for exuberant conversations or cooking shows with lots of special effects.
Over plates of Italian dishes and drinks, visitors to Ciago’s can spot multiple generations of the Candes family bustling between the kitchen, dining room, and full bar. The family and staff carry plates of veal parmesan and pizzas crowned with artichoke hearts, jalapeños, and eggplant, which diners wash down with more than 20 wines. Beneath spotlights at the 20-seat bar, patrons look up breathlessly at high-definition televisions as athletic events reach their conclusion and players are doused in Gatorade to prove they aren’t robots. Tabletops line up beneath the awning of the outdoor patio and snake out into sunnier areas dappled by the shade from marinara-red umbrellas. Glittering strings of hanging lights illuminate the patio when night falls or when oversized passing parade floats eclipse the sun.
Sicilian-born chef Franco Cominato continues to man the stovetops at Pulcinella's, a task he has performed since the restaurant first opened more than 10 years ago. He relies on his knowledge of his native land when creating thick-crusted, Sicilian-style pizzas as well as thinner, Neapolitan-style pies, each available with sun-dried tomatoes, sausage, banana peppers, and 11 other toppings. But pizza’s only part of the story; zesty or spicy marinara adorns the pasta platters, and sautéed chicken breasts emerge in either a citrusy white-wine sauce or a rich and creamy marsala sauce. Guests feast on these dishes in a dining room where sconces light burnt-orange walls, which are adorned with gilt-framed paintings of Italian cities and the Roman Coliseum's famously decadent hopscotch tournaments.:m]]