Vivid Italian oil paintings adorn the walls of Milano Grille’s dining room; together with the crisp, white-clothed tables and the soft lights cast by hanging lamps, they create a facsimile of Italy on par with the plates of pasta and meat-based entrees to come. Servers’ heels click against the tile floor as they emerge from the kitchen carrying lunches of paninis, personal pizzas, and calzones or dinners of veal, chicken, and seafood. Though Milano Grille offers full delivery and catering, the restaurant lures guests in to its dining room with a BYOB policy that allows them to bring in their favorite bottle of wine or flask of virgin moonshine.
The poultrygeists at Cluck-U glorify grilled, fried, and buffaloed bird with a Southern-style bill of fare devoted to the chicken. Diners debate dressings for buffalo wings, choosing from 15 different flavors such as Cluckster's hot, mustard barbecue, and Fiery 911 sauce, which requires a signed waiver and back-up set of taste buds. Six pieces of fried-to-order light meat, dark meat, or a combination of each come standard or, like an amicable bee, bearing a satchel of honey. Three buttermilk biscuits buttress main courses, and seven sides vie to rub elbows with entrees, prompting mac 'n' cheese to plump its profile with four types of dairy and mashed potatoes to reinforce its gravy boat with cannons.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop?then called Pete's Subway?proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number over 34,000 around the world?almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information?and fastest mile time online.
For Sean Ulley, the owner Smokehouse Barbecue in Somerville, grilling meats is a family tradition; his father runs his own barbecue joint in Andover. To infuse ribs, brisket, and pulled pork with deep flavor, Sean seasons the cuts with a dry rub and smoke them for up to 17 hours—as deliciously described in the Somerville Today. The cooks also make good use of their fryer, deep-frying everything from corn on the cob to Oreos. Patrons can also opt for fried chicken, burgers, or Creole dishes such as the Louisiana Steampot—a medley of clams, mussels, crawfish, and shrimp served over rice and garnished with a strand of sautéed Mardi Gras beads. In the summer and spring, diners can head to an outdoor patio to eat in the warmth of the sun.
The chefs at Luna Rossa Ristorante fill their menu with traditional recipes that were first created in Italy and brought across the Atlantic by the Terraglia Family. Giovanni, Assunta, and their two sons Salvatore and Luigi arrived in America in 1955, and within a decade, Salvatore and Luigi opened their first restaurant, and more followed, including Luna Rossa Ristorante.
Nearly 50 years later, the chefs still follow Salvatore and Luigi?s recipes for housemade pastas and hand-cut steaks. Fresh vegetables and seafood are delivered to the kitchen daily, which the chef's use to create broiled lobster tails, flounder piccata, and chicken Pompeii with artichokes and mushrooms. The chefs also supersize their meals for catered gatherings that celebrate anniversaries or Frank Sinatra?s birthday.
With its Tuscan yellow walls, faux cottage window, and framed paintings of cobbled Italian streets, Il Forno's rustic ambiance complements the casual spirit of its cuisine. Incorporating traditional southern Italian cooking alongside pizzeria staples, the menu features homestyle cooking that showcases its hearty flavors. After topping pizzas with everything from grilled chicken, sun-dried tomato, and feta to salami, hot cherry peppers, and kalamata olives, chefs bake the pies in a traditional brick oven. Dishes such as rigatoni with homemade bolognese, veal marsala, and shrimp scampi demonstrate the restaurant's Old World roots, and orders of wings, bacon cheese fries, deep-fried baseballs draw inspiration from a bit closer to home.