As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s Pizza has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Diners seated in what used to be the Frasinetti's east cellar sate themselves on handcrafted Italian lunch and dinner dishes, surrounded by huge vats evoking the 112-year-old winery’s storied past. Dinners commence with starters such as crostini slathered in grilled brie and red-pepper chutney ($10) or steamed clams in white-wine sauce ($9). Next, certified non-android servers bring out entrees such as seafood manicotti, a mix of salmon, scallops, and crab packed in pasta ($15). Pine-nut-gorgonzola butter adds a zesty twist to the 12-ounce center-cut prime rib ($25), and the regal Atlantic salmon rests on a bed of mushroom risotto ($19), like an eccentric rice baron.
The exterior of 1st Choice Pizza & Curry is somewhat non-descript; they let their unique blend of Italian and Indian foods define who they are. The fragrant spices of traditional Indian biryanis and curries mix with the smell of fresh pizza inside. Indian dishes come with add-ons such as boneless chicken or seasoned vegetables, and pizzas can get topped with barbecue sauce and chicken. There’s even a build-your-own gluten-free pizza option, which you can deck out with artichoke hearts and pineapple. Speciality drinks like the mango lassi and desert options like gulab jamun and soft serve in eight flavors round out the eclectic menu.
And while the Elk Grove eatery does have two separate menus for their two main food types, they also offer a handful of fusion items. Try the mango tango pizza, which has spiced mangos and spicy mango curry sauce paired with mozzarella cheese and cannolis; wash it down with a cold beer or a glass of wine.
Perry and Sophia Potiris opened the Original Perry's in 1968 at the local Arco station. The eatery, then known as Trukadero, was the first of Arco's coast-to-coast chain of truck-stop diners. When lines began to form for their fluffy omelets, fried chicken, and gravy-smothered meatloaf, Perry and Sophia opened Mr. Perry's in 1973. They placed it just across the way, preferring to compete with themselves than a brood of pancake-flipping octopuses. While both eateries have similar menus, Mr. Perry's has a more upscale edge. When Perry and Sophia decided to retire from the restaurant world, they turned over the reins to a longtime employee who began his own career with them as a busboy at age 16.