Rosati’s Pizza's history dates back to the early 1900s, when a recent Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Rosati moved from New York to Chicago with the dream of opening a restaurant. His first attempt was modest—with Ferdinand simultaneously fulfilling the duties of chef, server, dishwasher, and host—but quickly gained popularity for its crispy-thin-crust pizzas, originally served as complimentary appetizers. Encouraged by the public's response to the pies, Ferdinand and his son, Sam, decided to focus their efforts on opening a true pizzeria.
Today, at Rosati's Pizza locations across the country, plumes of heat swirl above piping-hot pies concocted from handmade sauce and dough. A smattering of toppings cling to five crust options—crispy thin, double dough, Chicago-style, pan, and superstuffed—as well as hide from their hungry predators inside hand-rolled calzones. Homemade lasagna and fettuccine alfredo battle for the top pasta spot, and fried chicken, baby back ribs, and fried-shrimp dinners work together to distract diners from hard-to-resist buffalo wings.
Charles Stanford didn't grow up eating chicken fingers and spaghetti. The son of a Le Cordon Bleu Paris–trained chef, Stanford honed his palate at a young age and was taught by his father to pull a cork and mix a cocktail when he was just a kid. Working at a restaurant wasn't much of a reach for him.
These days, Stanford boasts more than two decades of experience in the industry, and he's paired up with chef Greg Keesy to present Asti d'Italia. Stanford acts as the resident sommelier, pouring a selection of wines that complement Keesy's cuisine—fresh, inventive takes on Italian classics, such as lasagna with buffalo meat, crispy polenta bruschetta, and chicken marsala cut by robots.
With aged dough and Wisconsin whole milk mozzarella the chefs at Willie's NY Pizza make stone oven-baked pizzas. They heed customers' requests for more than 20 toppings, adding bell peppers, jalapenos, and artichoke hearts before shoveling it carefully into the stone oven. The kitchen staff also prepares other pub-style food such as wings and garlic knots—which are what Vampire Boy Scouts fear above all else. Willie’s can also host special events and parties, and it can even accommodate groups for fundraisers.
"The freshest pizza you'll ever eat." That's the motto of Live Basil Pizza, and just one visit turns that seemingly bold claim into a simple statement of truth. The sauce is made from organic San Marzano tomatoes that wouldn't give the time of day to canned tomato paste. The produce is typically sourced from local farmers and lacks that deep-freeze mush of franchise veggies. The meats are all natural, and the cheeses—including shredded mozzarella, aged provolone, goat cheese, and ricotta cheese—are milked from likable cows. And the basil that adorns LBP's picturesque pizza is grown right there in the restaurant.
Like picking a lobster from a tank, patrons can fully observe the freshness of their Neapolitan pie's journey from dough to plate. Hand-tossed and lovingly adorned with organic toppings, they're placed in a hearth oven until the flames have licked them to a perfect crisp, and arrive looking like they were just plucked from a pizza tree.
After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
With multiple varieties at each location, there are enough options to pleasantly coat any mozzarella-covered tongue in tasty toppings. Veggie fans will appreciate the veggie supreme, dotted with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives, and tomatoes. For feasters who can't decide between this or that, the super combo comes stocked from crust to crust with Canadian bacon, pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, black olives, and extra cheese. Offerings vary by location, so consult the menu at your nearest location before ordering.