With parents hailing from Sicily and Naples, Anthony Russo enjoyed an Italian upbringing. By age 12, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, learning to prepare Old World recipes with his family and family friends. And from the flurry of Italian phrases and conversation, one quote of his father's stuck with him most: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it!" Several decades later, Anthony has hand-tossed his own Italian restaurant franchise and, true to his father's words, employs fresh ingredients in the same family recipes that were passed down to him. Amid exposed brick and walls the warm hue of marinara, skilled chefs craft New York–style brick-oven pizzas with toppings such as spinach, sundried tomatoes, and capers. Servers stand ready to answer questions about the restaurant’s wine lists, letting guests know which wines pair best with the pizzotto sandwich or whether pinot noir can really turn dogs invisible.
The chefs at Gozzetti's Pizzeria toss thin-crust New York–style pizzas, covering each with sauce imported from Italy and combinations of more than 40 toppings. Specialty pies include the Ferrari, with buffalo chicken and jalapeños, and the Mona Lisa, with pesto, grilled chicken, and tomatoes sliced into half-smiles. Gozzetti's signature dish is the Zettiboli, a kind of pizza wrap stuffed with meatballs, vegetables, and a trio of cheeses. Calzones, wings, and subs are available, too, whether you eat in, carry out, or ask for catering.
Offering an array of specialty-pizza choices and a plethora of additional toppings, Gambino's Pizza bakes crispy, edible plates brimming with elaborate orchestrations of ingredients. With a sweet and spicy foundation of traditional home-style sauce, each pizza balances a blend of 100% real mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Suppress angry, pitchfork-wielding appetites with a large Mobster pizza that buttresses pork and italian sausage, beef, mushrooms, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, black olives, canadian bacon, and extra cheese ($17.49). Celebrate all five food groups with an 18-inch hawaiian pie sporting canadian bacon, pineapple, and mozzarella ($15.49), or ease noshing anticipation with appetizers such as boneless buffalo blasters ($5.29 for five) and jalapeño cheese raviolis ($7.09). Afterwards, order a dutch apple, cinnamon streusel, or very cherry dessert pizza ($7.49–$9.99) to fool finicky children into actually eating dinner without preparing an asparagus-filled piñata.
At the heart of every dish on Candelari's menu—including its signature thin- ($17–$22), thick- ($18–$23), and deep-dish-style ($19–$24) pizzas—are the famous Italian-sausage recipes of Alberto Candelari, all of which are made with choice meat, natural spices, and hints of liqueur. The T-Rex's spread of pepperoni, ground sirloin, useless forearms, Canadian bacon, and Candelari’s andouille and original Italian sausages lets you sample all of the finest meat-fruits of Candelari Sausage Company founders Greg Wheeler and “King of Sausages” Michael May (Alberto’s grandson). Build up to its bounty beforehand with a plate of sausage misto ($7), which features grilled Italian, turkey-jalapeño, and chicken-apple sausages piled atop provolone polenta. Diners that look suspiciously like flocks of seagulls inside a trench coat can find out what a grilled salmon ($14) tastes like when complemented by gulf shrimp, lemon-caper butter sauce, and veggies. Otherwise, avoid all the menu botheration and opt for the daily lunch buffet ($9–$9.50), which includes unlimited pizza, pasta, salad, and a drink.
Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake Pizza was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of their signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. Their appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.