As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s Pizza has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Since 2003, Keith Nash, owner of The Pizza Place, and his wife Shab have operated their family-owned restaurant designed for pizza aficionados. Opening The Pizza Place location in Rocklin in 2007, The Nash's oversee cooks who craft fresh pizza dough daily, homemade pasta sauces, and hulking meatball sandwiches. In the oven, the fresh dough rises and crisps beneath fistfuls of artichoke hearts, salami, linguiça, anchovies, basil, and garlic. A full Italian menu includes traditional stunners, such as from-scratch lasagna, bubbly warm tomato sauces, and stacked Philly cheese steaks. An accompanying dessert menu features fluffy tiramisu to decadent chocolate mousse cake. In the dining room, calzones spill steam that rises up towards framed jerseys, signed photos of athletes, and 5 flat screen TVs. An ample salad bar offers tasty greens for patrons in search of lighter bites. Outside the eatery, patrons lounge on a terrace, sipping on wine or one of the 10 beers on tap while enjoying the breeze. The Pizza Place's traditional culinary treasures earned them the title of "Best Pizza Place 2009" in The Placer Herald.
Pete's Restaurant & Brewhouse treats visitors to feasts of classic American and Italian cuisine, with hearty burgers, saucy pastas, and handmade pizzas. Diners dig in to chicken philly sandwiches, plates of spaghetti bolognese, and hand-tossed pies made in the traditional New York style with whole-milk mozzarella, all-natural tomato sauce, and tiny skyscrapers. A separate gluten-free menu caters to clients with special dietary needs, while a lineup of house-brewed beers and craft brews pair perfectly with steak salads, chicken parm, and fish and chips.
Cooks at Pizza Factory have been stacking their house-made dough with homemade sauce, pure mozzarella cheese, and fresh toppings since 1978. In addition to assembling customized pizzas that can hoist more than 30 toppings, they bake up specialty pies, including the beef- and salsa-topped Fiesta and the Canadian bacon-packed Greasy Spoon, which, like its namesake, only sticks to noses for half of a second. They round out their menu of Italian staples with pastas such as spaghetti alfredo, calzones, subs, and an all-you-can-eat salad bar.
All of Rico's Italian Pizza's dough discs are tossed by hand before being slathered with sauce, strewn with fresh toppings, and baked to a bubbly golden brown. Create your own circular edible by choosing thin, medium, or thick crust, then picking toppings ($11.95+). Or, go for a prearranged pie, such as the generously topped Carnivore (pepperoni, salami, italian sausage, ground beef, linguica, and canadian bacon; $14.95). Take-and-bake pizzas await ovens where they can be incubated until their flavors hatch ($8.95–$9.95). Rico's menu also offers sandwiches and salads for people who don't like cutting circles into triangles. Plus, the restaurant's casual décor makes any meal there more relaxing than a picnic in a gutted bus at the bottom of a quarry.
The name Biggies Pizza & Wings isn’t an exaggeration. The cooks hand-toss fresh dough for pizzas as large as 26 inches across and then top the circular foundations with robustly flavored toppings such as chicken, bacon, and mushrooms. Specialty pies include the BLT and the Hawaiian Holiday, which piles canadian bacon and pineapple onto a style of crust that’s more commonly used to make hula dancers’ skirts. In addition to crafting pizzas, cooks toss regular and boneless chicken wings in sauces ranging from sweet chili to hot. To round out meals, patrons may opt to fill up their plates at the salad bar with single trips or unlimited pilgrimages.