The chefs at Antonio’s Ristorante cook all the staple Italian dishes, including homemade pastas, vela parmigiana, and oversized pizzas. Classic black-and-white checkered floors span the entire dining area, and a small open space in the corner of the room is used for live music and shadow puppet shows that entertain guests during meals. During warmer months, Antonio’s sets up wrought iron tables dressed in red-and-white checkered tablecloths on the outdoor patio area.
Three popular chefs collaborate on the dinner dishes of Francesca’s Belleza, assembling elegant, rustic Italian cuisine in-house using fresh ingredients. The trio’s also affiliated with The Violet Hour, Simone’s, and The Publican, and they’ve earned acclaim from outlets such as the Chicago Sun-Times and WGN. Salad artists create edible still lifes with selections such as the insalata caprese, an arrangement of tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella ($7.99), which, unlike most oil paintings, proves eminently chewable. Gourmet pizzas boast carefully calibrated toppings, with varieties such as the quattro stagioni, a blend of prosciutto, artichoke, olive, and egg ($10.99), whereas pastas cure carb cravings with selections such as the penne con melanzane, replete with eggplant and spicy tomato sauce ($14.99). Drown hunger pangs and any tiny mariners shipwrecked on your tongue with a wave of maritime entrees, including the salmone al balsamico, which comes layered with balsamic sauce and fresh tomatoes ($19.99). Pork eaters can opt for the costoletta di maiale alla rustica, or pork chops with rosemary and pancetta ($21.99), as they take in the white linens and black-and-white photography that constitute Francesca’s elegant décor.
Salerno Pincente's owners, Andrew Salerno and Frank Pincente, bask in the happy clatter of pots and pans as chefs forge a menu of Italian cuisine. Under the dining room's hanging lights, chicken, steak, veal, and seafood fuel chatter and toasts, and long pasta strands cling to a variety of sauces, setting forks twirling. On sunny days, glasses clink merrily on an outdoor patio, and Trackside OTB provides equine entertainment more enjoyable than a slideshow of Mr. Ed's vacation.
With a list of eight meats, eight cheeses, and more than 15 veggies, it?s rare that two custom pizzas at Fireside Wood Fired Pizza & Cafe result in the same combination. However, they all wind up in the same place: the family-owned pizzeria's wood-fired brick oven. A trip into the wood-fired flames renders crusts crispy, cheeses bubbly, and artichoke hearts no longer beating, and is also the fate of their 13 specialty pies. Baby spinach, yellow peppers, and housemade sauce crown the Very Veggie, and a blend of hot and mild italian sausage, mushrooms, and provolone top The Fireside. Beyond pizzas, the oven toasts artisan sandwiches, including the Italian Grinder filled with black forest ham and pepperoncini peppers.
No matter where you sit, there?s a good chance you?ll be in full view of the game at Harry's Sports Bar?that's because the Countryside pub encircles bar-goers with more than 10 plasma and LCD screens, three oversize projection screens, and 30 or so standard TVs. As the sound system roars with cheers and jeers during professional ice hockey games and MMA matchups, guests drink ice-cold drafts and top-shelf liquor and order thin-crust pizzas and sandwiches. On the off chance there?s no game to watch, Harry?s provides live entertainment of its own, thanks to three pool tables, beer pong, and trivia nights.
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 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.