More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
Everyday at Eden Pizza, the kitchen buzzes with activities that are crucial to each pizza’s tempting taste. Behind the scenes, the eatery’s team routinely chops fresh veggies for toppings and makes fresh dough from scratch. Diners can order pizzas with traditional toppings such as sausage, pepperoni, and green peppers, or taste the culinary creativity in specialty pizzas such as the Gunslinger with hot sauce, pickles, banana peppers, and a holster for each slice. Aside from pizza, visitors can also take a bite out of salads, chicken wings doused in 15 different sauces, and cool breezes, if they’re eating outside on the patio.
The cooks at Restaurante La Laguna craft housemade Mexican dishes each day. They fill 14-inch flour tortillas with meats, mozzarella cheese, and fresh salsa for their signature burritos, and they serve skirt-steak strips with onions, tomato, and jalapeños to create another specialty, bistec a la Mexicana.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
Pizza Man of Eagan's cooks mix pizza dough fresh each day, letting it rise to perfection, like an airplane ascending to its cruising altitude, before fashioning crusts. On these, they layer toppings such as chicken alfredo fixings or fresh italian sausage that's never been frozen, precooked, or involved in a tug-of-war between chefs. Their cheese comes from a lauded Wisconsin dairy and gets grated fresh every day in the store. To accommodate anyone who wants to stand out from the pizza-eating crowd, the kitchen team also prepares baked rigatoni and four-cheese ravioli.
At the eatery's belly, a behemoth stone fireplace lavishes tables with a warm glow that illuminates all the eclectic decor nearby. Eyes can scan diverse adornments ranging from mounted portraits and sports paraphernalia to several flat-screen TVs broadcasting the latest game. Atop glistening tabletops, forks globetrot across international fare such as Italian pizzas and thai wraps. If pairing wine's not your bag, a neighboring blackboard lists all the night's available draft and bottled brews.
Fireside also enthusiastically hosts private banquets within a full-size log cabin dubbed The Warming House. With its spacious interior and high ceilings, The Warming House can accommodate up to 52 guests for sit-down service, 70 for a mingling reception, or 150 for a contortionist convention.