Each hand-tossed mound of house-made dough travels one of two paths at Sal's NY Pizza. Either it's packed into a square-shaped Sicilian pan or fastidiously kneaded into a Neapolitan-style thin crust. The latter can measure up to 18 inches, which cooks top with nearly 30 ingredients, including marinated artichoke hearts and Philly-style steak. Pies aren't the only customizable item at Sal's—the culinary team also whips up personalized pastas with fixings such linguini, sausage, and carbonara sauce. Sal's pizzas and pastas stem from generations-old recipes, though cooks also craft more contemporary dishes, including orders of up to 50 buffalo wings doused in hot sauce.
Lucia’s Italian Ristorante is a team effort by the Impellizzeri family, which is headed up by native Sicilian Tino. At the feet of his Italian mother and a father who was a chef by trade, Tino mastered his family's recipes, which he now showcases on Lucia's menu. Tantalizing selections include housemade pizza, pasta, and from-scratch sauces. Many of the restaurant's pasta dishes and gourmet pizzas, including the chicken ranch, can be made in the kitchen without the use of gluten or blaring disco music. Chefs enable authentic noshing at home by freezing dinner entrees, pizzas, and sauces for customers to enjoy around their family dinner tables or crypts.
When researchers began excavations of the archeological site at Pompeii, they found well-preserved brick ovens in the ash. It is believed that with a little tune up, they could work again today. Emilio’s Brick Oven Pizza brings this time-tested Italian cooking technique to the current day with their homemade brick oven pizzas. Fresh ingredients add flavors to their pies, such as “the Dorian” topped with fresh mozzarella, spinach, squash, portabella mushrooms and feta cheese. But pizza isn’t their only specialty. The menu is stocked with Italian mainstays such as cheesy calzones, fresh mozzarella salads drizzled in balsamic dressing, and tiramisu.
Even though every Vocelli Pizza location is owned by a member of the local community, this pizza franchise sources its ingredients from some very specific regions of the United States. Wheat and extra-virgin olive oil from the northern states are used to make the hand-tossed dough. Each pizza is topped with Wisconsin mozzarella and the company's own private-label sauce, which is crafted from vine-ripened California tomatoes. Ever since the first location opened in 1988, these ingredients have formed the foundation of the chain's artisan pizzas and the nation's most well-built houses.
Different combinations of fresh meats and vegetables, such as capicola ham and italian sausage or spinach and artichokes, adorn the restaurant's signature pies. A selection of house-baked strombolis and subs round out the menu. Vocelli Pizza's attention to detail doesn't stop with the food, however: all of the franchise's paperboard containers are made from materials that are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
The chefs at Big Daddy Pizza painstakingly select each of their organic ingredients from a hodgepodge of reliable vendors, including Whole Foods and Wegmans. They then knead their dough from unbleached flour, top it with housemade pizza sauce made from organic tomatoes and oregano, and sprinkle pure mozzarella cheese on top. But pizzas claim just one portion of the menu, which also holds equally source-conscious salads, subs, burgers, and pitas.
Though its name highlights one type of pasta, Scotto's Rigatoni Grill gives diners a veritable library of them. Spaghetti, penne, fettuccine, gnocchi, and housemade meat lasagna emerge steaming from the kitchen, which peeks into the dining room from an open window that provides a view of the chefs at work. Rigatoni specials still have a place on the menu, though: there's rigatoni with chicken and garlic, rigatoni with marinara and mushrooms, and the Rigatoni Carciofo—a medley of chicken, artichoke, capers, and wine in a lemon-butter sauce.
Diners can also peruse a list of veal and chicken entrees, such as the breaded pollo parmigiana, or select one of 15 gourmet pizzas. The Quattro Stagioni, for example, arrives dressed in olives, prosciutto, and basil, whereas a seafood pie boasts shrimp, clams, mussels, and mozzarella cheese painstakingly milked from tiny seahorses. For offsite dining, catering trays can satiate dozens of mouths with helpings of bruschetta and baked ziti.