Cooks at Michelangelo's Pizza sprinkle fresh garlic, italian sausage, and green peppers to form custom orders and the specialty pies that make up their daily pizza buffet. Guests can transform their round pie into a square meal with fresh garden salads or sizzling chicken wings coated in teriyaki, barbecue, or buffalo sauces. The imposing lunch and dinner buffets houses pre-sliced pizzas, hearty pastas, and salads to complement sauce-drenched feasting. Dessert options range from peanut-butter, chocolate-chip, and cherry-pie pizzas to cannolis.
At Johnny's Pizza's, cooks roll gleaming pizza wheels over New York–style thin-crust, deep-dish, and gourmet pies peppered with fresh ingredients. Meanwhile, the delivery crew stands at attention to speedily transport online orders of pizza, pasta, and subs to homes, hotels, and maximum-security pillow forts. Although delivery is free, diners can also make meals of chicken wings and toasty calzones in the dining area.
CiCi’s Pizza combines the variety of a buffet with the thrill of bottomless pizza. Each pie is crafted with dough made from scratch daily and then slathered with homemade marinara and showered with toppings ranging from traditional pepperoni and Italian-style sausage to creative combinations including buffalo chicken and mac 'n' cheese. The buffet is stocked with a plethora of fresh pastas, as well as signature salads with the option to put tossing talents to the test at the salad bar. After they've feasted on savory options, diners can revisit the buffet for dessert including freshly baked brownies, slices of apple pizza, and cinnamon rolls drizzled with icing—or they can eat dessert first, thereby tearing an irreparable hole in the space-time continuum.
Mamma Mia’s chefs rely on time-tested family recipes, not mass-produced ingredients, as they forge a host of familiar Italian staples, flooding the dining room with the aromas of tangy marinara sauce and sautéed chicken. Instead of taking culinary shortcuts, they seek out high-quality ingredients such as fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella and make their own manicotti pasta and meatballs in-house. They also offer gluten-free pasta. Thin-crust, New York–style pizzas—praised by ApexSpecials as the best in town—can arrive at tables with as many as 20 different toppings, including jalapeños, bacon, and imported Antarctic pineapples.
The pies at Tomato Jake’s Pizzeria have whimsical names that play off of pop-culture mafiosos and hint at fistfuls of grilled italian sausage, pepperoni, and crumbled meatballs. Fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and other toppings further cement ties to Italy, and forks twirl in plates of pasta and fresh garlic. In the kitchen, cooks prep party platters of subs, and the shop’s calzones brim with baby spinach, roma tomatoes, and virgin olive oil like the briefcase of a fake lawyer.
The Loop Pizza Grill’s founders, Mike and Terry Schneider, can credit a failed restaurant for the success of their current franchise. Though their first eatery, Applejacks, successfully drew crowds in Jacksonville, Florida, the couple hit a speed bump when they decided to open a second location. Unable to attract a following, it quickly closed, leaving them with restaurant equipment, debt, and a surplus of anxiety. Rather than accept defeat, the Schneiders instead thought of a new business plan, and with it, a new restaurant. Soon after, they opened The Loop Pizza Grill, a casual but upscale restaurant where customers could enjoy the convenience of fast food but with quality service—and absolutely no paper plates or plastic utensils. Named in honor of Chicago’s financial district—and Terry’s hometown—The Loop quickly expanded into new locations, and now has 20 restaurants across three different states. The Schneiders credit their continued success to a different way of thinking. Says Mike: “The key was that we simply asked, ‘What kind of restaurant would we like to take our family to?’ We wanted a place where hungry kids and discriminating gourmets would both leave happy.”