The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Anthony Russo, a first-generation Italian, spent years in the kitchens of his parents and other Italian chefs learning authentic Italian recipes for sauces and pastas. He eventually drew on his experience kneading New York?style pizza to open his own chain of coal-fired pizza franchises. Exposed bricks surround the burning embers at the core of the oven, which bakes thin-crust specialty pizzas, such as escargot with pesto, alongside heart-healthy pies with fresh spinach and artichokes. After sliding out golden-crusted pizzas and singed fairy-tale witches, chefs fill ovens with calzones and flatbreads. A full wine list supplies bold cabernets and crisp pinot grigios.
Bella Luna sits only a short pizza toss from the blue waters of Corpus Christi Bay. Owner Salvatore Colicci––who hails from the Bronx––bakes 22-inch New York-style pies, and he even personally rehabbed the eatery with tomato-red walls and arched porticos. The culinary advice of Sasha Grime has helped craft the traditional Italian menu, which employs delicate wine sauces for chicken and veal and outfits pastas in hearty bolognese. Bella Luna's housemade Italian desserts are also available for takeout or for delivery to those within a 5-mile radius, the same radius of the world’s 53rd largest pizza ever made.
Elegance pervades the interior at Luciano’s Italian, informed by white linens on tables and candles that cast their yellow glow against glasses of wine. The dinner menu catalogs pastas, oven-baked entrees, veal, pork, lamb, and chicken dishes, and a panoply of seafood such as baked salmon. Luciano's staff curates a wine list that includes reds like Heron pinot noir and whites such as St. Jean chardonnay.
Over classic red-and-white checkered tablecloths, diners dig into thin and crispy New York?style pies, devouring slices decorated with meatballs, olives, and pepperoni. The massive menu is also home to a variety of Italian-influenced dishes, from classic chicken parmigiana to spinach-, feta-, and mozzarella-lined calzones, which turn crispy and golden-brown in the oven.
The chefs at Maggies Pizza & Deli, do Italian double time by making Italy’s favorite dishes as well as naming their sandwiches after famous mob movies including Casino, Goodfellas, and Godfather. The chefs also make their own sauces that cling to pizza crusts, tortellini, and garlic cheese bread.