In 1960, brothers Tom and James Monaghan decided to get $500 together and buy local pizzeria Domi-Nick's in Ypsilanti, Michigan. More than 50 years later, the Monaghans had sold their creation, with more than 9,000 Domino's Pizzas peppering the globe from New Delhi to New York. The pizza chain's menu ranges from pizzas to pastas and boneless chicken wings, side-kicked by their bread sticks and bites, which simmer in garlic before being baked to golden crispiness. Since the reboot of their traditional recipe in 2009, Domino's now offers more than 37 toppings to craft a build-your-own pizza or decorate your neighbor's car.
Rulli?s culinarians dish up pizzas, pasta, and seafood dishes born from recipes central to southern Italy, serving patrons in their 25-year-old dining area at their Middlebury location or at their newest spot in Elkhart. A range of appetizers, such as 12 broaster-style chicken wings accompanied by dunk tanks of barbecue, ranch, or vidalia onion sauce, pave the way for heartier main courses or Stooge-level food fights. Velvety ricotta, parmigiana, romano, and provonello cheeses comprise the lasagna?s melty strata, which trundle italian sausage toward forks on fragrant avalanches of marinara and signature sauce. Rulli?s pizza, which has been served at the Elkhart County Fair for two decades, bristles with inventive toppings such as spaghetti and meatballs.
Vivid Italian artwork and murals from local artist Rocky Weaver pepper the dining room, a delightful prelude to the neighboring Rulli's Bella Luna sports bar?s fun neon signage, clacking pool balls, flickering high-definition TVs, and live music. Foam-flecked taps line the full-service bar boasting a selection of robust wines, which nicely complement rowdy bands wailing or grape stomping live atop a well-appointed stage.
Since 1969, thin-crust pies have emerged from Z-Place Pizza’s oven crowned with custom combos of 15 ingredients, including banana peppers and chicken. Over time, Z-Place’s culinary team has even created its own specialties, including a variation of the Hawaiian pizza that swaps its custom-crafted pizza sauce for barbecue.
Along with favorites such as chicken-parm grinders, Z-Place’s cooks supplement their pies with some less common pizzeria dishes. Rather than grill or deep-fry, they opt to broast wings, fish, and pork chops. They even craft nine riffs on the baked potato, including versions with pizza and bacon-cheeseburger fixings. Feasts unfold inside Z-Place's booth-lined dining room, whose back wall is filled with arcade classics for pre- and post-meal gaming.
At PJ's Paesan's Pizza, cooks turn every hunk of dough into one of two pizzas. There's a hand-tossed New York–style thin crust for East Coast enthusiasts and a deep-dish pie that awaits midwestern palates. Atop either, cooks sprinkle custom medleys of more than 15 toppings, ranging from classics like green peppers to more creative fixings like pulled pork. To supplement those pies, the culinary team crafts plenty of other pizzeria favorites, including garlic bread laced with gooey cheese and subs filled with pepperoni and salami.
In 2006, Paul Cataldo proved his pizza street cred by competing with the World Pizza Champions in Salsomaggiore, Italy. Paul and his family are first-generation Italians, and they have made it their mission to bring their Old World, southern Italian recipes stateside with Antonio’s Italian Ristorante. In the central dining room, sponge-painted beige walls and red clay tiles evoke a rustic Tuscan villa. Crisp tablecloths populate with fish and veal entrees and an array of gourmet pizzas, such as the U.S. Pizza Team's award-winning rosemary pie. After spearing forks through saucy pastas, guests can kindle romance on the outdoor patio with a bottle of wine, or kindle the tablecloth by aggressively rubbing two breadsticks together.
Samuel Mancino's Italianate empire extends throughout the Midwest, each outpost stocked with a menu of fresh-baked grinders and pizzas loaded with hearty ingredients. A troika of ham, hard salami, and spicy italian sausage powers the signature italian grinder ($6.49 for an 8"), spurred on to its task of filling bellies by green pepper, onion, and melted mozzarella. Mancino's chefs toss dough by hand to give it a fluffy texture and one bittersweet taste of freedom before it meets its fate as a foundation for pizzas laden with fresh, gourmet toppings such as chicken and garlic, or ham, bacon, and pineapple ($15.99+ for a large). For dessert, piping-hot breadsticks return in sugary eveningwear as sweet Cinna-Stix ($5.99).