The founders of zpizza think of their pies as edible art and imbue each slice with things that are good for you, from organic flour and tomato sauce to rich Wisconsin cheese from grass-fed, hormone-free cows. Innovative topping combinations create a menu of distinctive pizzas such as the Tuscan with cremini and shitake mushrooms and the curry chicken and yam with mango chutney. Classic cheese and pepperoni pies also emerge from the oven with distinctive crispy crusts, which are hand-thrown each day using regular, whole wheat, or gluten-free dough.
“It's the best pizza I’ve found in Los Angeles,” says comedian and recognized Italian Ray Romano about D’Amore’s Pizza. He’s not the only star to fall for the authentic slices: owner Joe D’Amore has shipped his cracker-thin crusts to destinations across Hollywood, including the set of Two and a Half Men and Jennifer Garner’s house. Whether he’s serving an A-lister or the average hungry citizen, Joe bakes all of his cheesy treats to-order inside a stationary brick oven or an innovative oven on wheels.
D’Amore’s traditional methods and tempting taste are a family legacy. Born and raised in an Italian family in Boston, Joe D’Amore grew up savoring his grandmother Mommanonna's handmade pizzas—a meal he would miss upon moving to California. Joe asked his grandmother to join him out west and show him the secrets to her trade, but when she pulled the pie out of the oven, something wasn't quiet right. Mommanonna immediately knew that the California water was sabotaging her famous cracker-thin crust, and urged Joe to bring water from Boston. Today, he takes the practice a step further, importing water from Italy along with olive oil, flour, and pizza wheels carved by Michelangelo.
With more than 20 high-def televisions festooning their walls, Draughts Restaurant & Bar applies a full-court press to unsportsmanlike hunger with a menu that bursts at the seams with American eats and a monster selection of draught beers. Unlike marriages between roller-skates and quicksand, a glass of "Draughts" Amber Ale perfectly suits the Long Board specialty pizza ($9.95 personal, $16.95 medium, $21.95 large), which crowns fresh dough made from scratch with shrimp brushed with olive oil and garlic, and mozzarella and fontina cheeses. Or, pit a pint against Draughts' full menu of appetizers ($2.65-$10.50), sandwiches ($7.95-$11.95), pastas ($2.50-$14.95), and desserts.
By the age of ten, Mulberry Street Pizzeria owner Richie Palmer already had some game in the kitchen. He could make mashed potatoes, meat balls, and marinara sauce—all thanks to techniques and recipes he learned at his mother's side. He always knew he was destined to open a restaurant, he just didn't know where or when. Fate finally struck one night, when, out of curiosity, he peered into a boarded up bakery near his home in the Bronx and found it contained an old, majestic brick oven. A short time—and a call to an oven mechanic—later, he opened his first restaurant, Modern Pizzeria, to great success.
Fate would strike again during a visit to LA, when an old friend convinced Richie to bring his business model—and his mother's marinara recipe—to the west coast. Mulberry Street Pizzeria opened in 1992, and since then, the franchise has grown to encompass four locations, each slinging slices of authentic NY-style pizza. Besides classic cheese slices, diners sink their teeth into pizzas topped with eggplant or chicken parmesan, barbecue chicken, or pesto and sundried tomato, and Mulberry Street even sells its pizza dough and sauces to-go, so customers can recreate their favorite pies at home.