At Bison Creek Pizza & Pub, the past meets the present in both food and d?cor. Located inside the historic Burien Theatre, the pizzeria serves its gourmet pies from a modern kitchen, but it pours mixed drinks from the theater's original saloon-like bar. A stage has replaced the screen, and free live shows blare music across the expansive room regularly. Bison Creek's menu exemplifies the same juxtaposition of tradition and change, boasting specialty pizzas that it's served since opening in 1975, now with modern twists such as gluten-free crusts, soy cheese, and invisible slices.
Customers can build their own pizza, but the pub is known for its gourmet options such as the 6th Gear?a pizza piled high with chicken, bacon, and artichoke hearts simmering garlic cream sauce with onions and garlic. The menu has expanded as well. Grinder sandwiches filled with tender pulled pork or heaps of salami, bacon, and pepperoni come with a pile of fries, and the kitchen produces pasta dinners with homemade sauces such marinara, alfredo, or pesto cream.
In addition to serving up slices at four brick-and-mortar locations, Mad Pizza delivers its meat- and veggie-laden pies throughout Seattle. From store to store, the menu of each restaurant shares madness-themed entree names, such as the Mad pepperoni, the Maditerranean pizza—which hoists pesto, salami, and capers—and the Mad Scientist pizza, baked over a bunsen burner. They also prepare succulent Chicago–style italian beef sandwiches and meatball subs.
There was once a pair of friends who shared the same name. These friends—the Gregs—also shared the belief that even casual food should be fresh. So they put their heads together to found Zaw Artisan Pizza, where seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients top carefully crafted take-and-bake pies. Diners can watch over the counter as pizza artistes decorate white, whole wheat, or gluten-free crusts with toppings such as free-range chicken breast, hearty spinach, and fresh artisan cheeses. Each pie leaves the shop unfrozen—as evidenced by the lack of freezers in all six stores—to be baked to a golden crisp inside the customer's oven or backyard iron forge. To further their commitment to quality, the Gregs strive to source local ingredients from neighborhood farmers' markets whenever possible, and craft each batch of dough with Bob's Red Mill flours.
After leaving his hometown of Naples in 1964, Mario Vellotti made his living tossing pizzas in various kitchens across New York City, eventually opening pizzerias in all five boroughs. Now, he’s brought his famous pies to Seattle. In the New York tradition, his slices “are so huge that just one and a beer probably put you over the recommended daily intake of carbohydrates,” according to Seattle Weekly. For those who prefer whole pies, he makes massive 18-inchers to order, topping them with gourmet ingredients such as Italian ham, homemade pesto, and gorgonzola cheese.
Big Mario’s maintains its laid-back vibe with the help of a full bar, the star of which is a collection of 40-fluid-ounce cans of Olde English 800. There’s even Jägermeister on tap for diners who are in the market for something harder or who are looking to do a post-pizza shot.
As if giant slices and shots weren’t appealing enough to party-loving crowds, Big Mario’s also keeps late-night hours. It stays open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and until 4 a.m. on weekends. After bars begin closing, regulars here start lining up at the walk-up window for a final slice, which they can chow down on while sitting at the bar or just standing on the sidewalk.
Over the course of his pizza-making career, Lance Brough has helped open restaurants from Little Star Pizza in San Francisco to Pi in St. Louis. Many of these have achieved acclaim—President Obama loved the meal he ate at Pi so much that he had its owners come make pizza at the White House, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.
Today, Lance dishes up both thick and thin pies at Kylie's Chicago Pizza—named after his business partner's daughter Kylie. "It's kind of a West Coast version of a Chicago-style pizza," he says of the eatery's signature dish. Though "it's not the heavy, greasy gut bomb" that diners might expect, it does have a deep-dish cornmeal crust, as well as the seasoned, chunky tomato sauce found on Chicago's famous pies. And just as in Chicago, the deep-dish creations take about 30 minutes to bake under an indigenous Midwestern dragon's scorching mouth fires. Piping pies arrive at tables clad in custom toppings or specialty combinations, including the Chicago Classic, which hosts Illinois sausage spiced with sweet fennel, as well as onions, green peppers, and mushrooms.
The staff keeps three local beers on tap at all times, including Fremont Brewing's Interurban IPA and Georgetown Brewing's Manny's pale ale. They also pour area wines, including Pacific Rim's riesling, which Lance says is consistently praised as one of the state's top wines. As they sip, guests can admire local artwork, which is swapped out every two or three months to thwart slow-moving art thieves.
Although La Vita E Bella Cafe is physically distant from its Italian roots, it preserves one of the most important parts of home: the coast. Seafood infuses its menu—from appetizers of garlic-marinated octopus to the Siciliana pizza, topped with tuna, onions, kalamata olives, and capers. The kitchen's emphasis on freshness persists beyond its sautéed prawns, though. Owner Giuseppe Forte heads out multiple times a week to purchase groceries for his chefs, ensuring that their bruschetta and pollo cacciatora contain crisp veggies and fresh herbs. Then there’s the crepes—three kinds enveloping such Old-World ingredients as champignon mushrooms and prosciutto di parma.
Yet it’s pizzas that form the base of the menu. More than 20 specialty-topping combinations include the salsiccia, which boasts sausage and broccoli, and the gorgonzola, which mixes its namesake cheese with walnuts. As diners match their slices to a selection from the sprawling wine list, they can tune in to the lilt of live accordion music, which evokes the ambiance of Italy's streets and keeps dates from trying to fill conversational pauses by reciting their favorite Matlock plotlines.