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 grilled chicken marsala.
The chefs at No Ordinary Pizza slather dough with homemade tomato basil sauce, garlic-infused olive oil, mozzarella cheese, and more than 25 gourmet toppings. They adorn red or white pies with specialty combinations, such as Kansas City–style barbecue chicken with fresh cilantro and red onions, and they customize crusts with toppings that range from smoked applewood bacon to feta cheese. In addition to their signature pizzas, the menu also features casual Italian favorites such as calzones, stromboli, and loafers.
When pizza comes to mind, most people think of the big three: cheese, pepperoni, and sausage. While Oasis Pizza can certainly oblige on that front, it isn't afraid to break free from menu safe zones and embrace truly adventurous flavors. Cooks can create pies that replicate the taste of tacos?replete with shredded beef, lettuce, tomato, and homemade taco sauce?or echo the flavors from Thai cuisine with toppings such as exotic chili peanut sauce, chicken, and pineapple. Of course, customers can flex their own creative muscles by ordering a custom pie covered in everything from cashews and shrimp to prosciutto and cream cheese. It's not all about the food, though?Oasis Pizza also serves as the stomping grounds for bingo games.
"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.
Cinebarre combines a slate of first-run movies with a courteous, alcohol-enhanced atmosphere and crave-worthy kitchen concoctions. The menu features items with movie-inspired names, allowing cinephiles to pick a dish that aligns with their preferred genre or favorite Bill Paxton performance. Take teeth to the made-from-scratch pizza playground with the Chicken Run, topped with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce ($13). The Blue Velvet Burger––ground in-house––piles a juicy half-pounder with blue cheese, buffalo hot sauce, burger toppings, and a kick of chipotle mayo ($10). Appetizers, such as Some Like It Hot Wings ($9) and Lord of the Onion Rings ($7), make arduous journeys to melt into a copious selection of wine and local craft beers, as well as mixed drinks, including the Lolita Margarita ($6).