Forged in oven fires from dough mixed fresh each day, Naples’ menu of thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas are one-ring flavor circuses where traditional ingredients cavort and tumble alongside artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, clams, and eggplant. DIY disk-diners can order their pies in three sizes ($11.65–$14.75), then sprinkle the surface with pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, and more ($1.25–$2/topping). Otherwise, choose from one of Naples’ specialty pizzas, such as the Shrimp pizza with capers and red onions ($15.75–$19.75) or a barbecued-chicken pie ($14.55–$19.15).
Plainville Restaurant & Pizza has been stacking sandwiches, baking specialty pastas, and slathering sauce and toppings across tasty thin crust pies for 25 years. Diners can mouth-mash appetizers such as fried cheese ravioli ($8.75) before sinking incisors into more substantial fare from the expansive menu. Specialty pies include the extra-large spinach and ricotta pizza ($17.50), which sates adventurous taste buds wandering across a mozzarella field strewn with sausage and olive boulders. Verdure votaries can dive mouth-first into the vegetarian pizza awash with broccoli, mushrooms, and eggplant ($17.50). Specialty and baked pastas include fresh veal parmigiana ($13.95) and stuffed manicotti ($9.95), with the latter guarding gooey cheese from prey inside tantalizing tubular noodles. Sandwich-seekers can lure wandering coyotes with more than 20 grinders ($4.50–$9) or bun-splitting chicken sandwiches such as the crispy chicken with bacon and cheese under a blanket of ranch dressing ($8).
Owner Randy Price curates a creative menu of New Haven–style "apizza" in more than 30 styles. His team crafts fresh dough daily using unbleached flour, creates sauce from handpicked Italian and Chilean tomatoes, and sprinkles pies with cheese from home-schooled cows. The famous Challenger—a 22-inch pizza stuffed with a mélange of vegetables and meats that weigh in at nearly 10 pounds—presents the hungriest visitors with a challenge to conquer the hot wheel in an hour or less, a feat that has earned a place on the Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food roster of surmounted food battles.
Since opening in 1931, Bacco's Restaurant has become a local destination for pizza and Italian cuisine. The menu offers diners a variety of pizzas, char-grilled steaks, and specialties, such as veal saltimbocca rolled with prosciutto. Nearly everything is made in house, from warm loaves of bread to the sumptuous sauces that dress signature pasta dishes. The restaurant's comfortable interior was recently remodeled, and now features a roomy bar where servers pour cold drinks.
"I grew up around restaurants. I came from hospitality," Angie explains, looking around at Luna's newly painted taupe and gold walls. Luna Pizza has indeed traced her family tree; Angie and her son took over the business from her brother.
In the eatery itself, marble-top tables shine in their wrought-iron bases. "West Hartford––it's an old town with a small-town character,” Angie says. “Many of our customers can walk from their homes." The impetus for that walk is the shop’s distinctive thin crust and adventurous palette of toppings, including breaded chicken, pesto, and cherry peppers, which are prepared as needed. "We won't do a batch," Angie explains. "All the veggies are roasted fresh." The sauces are also homemade, and the ingredients sourced locally when possible. The resulting pies can hold a powerful draw, Angie says. "There are many customers who have been coming to Luna Pizza for well over 20 years. They order the same pizza, the same toppings. That's loyalty, and that matters."