When it came time for the team at Johnny Carino?s to come up with some new recipes, they began rifling through their personal cooking histories. Executive chef Chris Peitersen took his first kitchen job at a barbecue joint when he was 14, so he was primed to create Italian baby back ribs. By infusing brown sugar barbecue sauce with balsamic vinegar imported from Modena, he?s given the marinade a more acidic bite than typical barbecue sauces. As the ribs slowly roast and char on an oak grill, he bastes on his creation before finishing the dish with a dusting of parmesan.
The ribs are one of Carino?s many menu items that follow the restaurants? approach of classic Italian preparations modified by forward-thinking flavor combinations. Diners will find a crispy pepperoni burger capped with mozzarella and fried pepperoni, or saut?ed tilapia spiced with garlic and jalape?o. Other signature dishes include the 16-layer lasagna, Skilletinis that sizzle with spaghetti and a choice of meat, and tiramisu made from scratch.
Chalkboard Pizza & Subs doesn't rely on the internet for reviews of its food. The first thing anyone sees as they walk into the storefront pizzeria are chalkboard walls filled with drawings, daily specials, and customer comments about the food. Serving both specialty and build-your-own pizzas, Chalkboard boasts a selection of 30 toppings to create unique pies served whole or by the slice. In addition to the pizza, the staff makes sub sandwiches and wraps, and they toss seven different salads with fresh veggies and meats.
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. 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.
Growing up in Torre Del Greco in Naples, Italy, Rosario and Maria Ulloa-Severino learned the ins and outs of the restaurant industry from their families. After moving to the United States, the pair worked for years in the industry. Rosario served as a manager at such restaurants as Da Pasquale, while Maria honed her craft in the kitchen. Now at the helm of their own eatery, the couple welcome guests with such hearty Italian dishes as housemade gnocchi, filled with potato and drizzled with basil-laden tomato sauce. Other entrees include tender veal medallions and seafood stew filled with oceanic delicacies as shrimp, lobster, and whispered promises of marriage from sea-infatuated sailors.
Featuring New York–style interpretations of regional Italian cuisine, Spaghetti Eddie’s menu embraces homestyle cooking from each side of the Atlantic. These iconic comfort foods incorporate locally sourced ingredients, imported goods, and Italian bread baked fresh daily, creating the hearty portions that prompted Inland Living magazine to write, “it’s easy to see why Spaghetti Eddie’s . . . is so popular.”
Although the name Spaghetti Eddie’s implies a limited selection of pasta dishes, the extensive menu fills its pages with everything from classic bruschetta to braised-beef short ribs. The pizzas begin as blank disks of freshly kneaded dough, which the chefs adorn with any of the 39 available toppings, including premium ingredients such as cappicola, goat cheese, and clams. Pastas do appear prominently, though, tempting diners with platefuls of rigatoni in a hearty beef bolognese sauce or fettuccine with buttery alfredo.
The main dining room embraces the restaurant’s Mediterranean roots. Faux windowsills and murals of Italian city streets line the walls, and strings of red, white, and green lights traverse the ceiling. Red awnings hang over a few of the room’s booths, sheltering the seats from the rays of imported Tuscan sunshine.
A Whittier Boulevard fixture for more than 40 years, De Luca's Italian Restaurant continues to showcase the Boot's classic dishes. Inside the kitchen, cooks toss linguini with clams, coat fettuccini and chicken with a creamy, sherry-spiked tomato sauce, and stuff eggplant and mushrooms into vegetarian-friendly calzones. Pizza-wise, they take their cues from New York by rolling housemade dough into a thin-crust pie covered with mozzarella cheese from Wisconsin. That joins medleys of up to 20 toppings?from cappicola to artichoke hearts?as well as eight specialty pies with additional ingredients such as herbed chicken. To complement feasts, bartenders pour plenty of wines from an extensive list of reds, whites, and America's rare blues.