The most difficult decision to be made at Giovannis Pizza is where to begin the meal. The buffet table includes not only pizza and pasta, but also a baked-potato bar, garlic bread, and a 30-item salad bar with housemade ranch and blue- cheese dressings. At any point in the meal, sweet cravings can find satisfaction in bowls of ice cream or squares of brownies. Diners who like to taunt hungry birds can take their plates to tables outside.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family?s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Giammarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat?s kitchen operations?although, these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 425 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.
Papa Murphy's low-fat, low-calorie thin-crust pizzas come in four enticing styles designed for cooking at home and tailored to each customer’s unique tastes. While proto-diners look on, Papa Murphy’s doughsmiths pave crisp, thin crusts with an array of fresh ingredients and specialty sauces. A traditional gourmet vegetarian pizza holds back its garlic-sauce flood with spinach, mushroom, and tomatoes, and the chicken bacon artichoke pie presses spinach, parmesan, and zesty herbs between meat pages like an epicurean botanist. The herb chicken Mediterranean pizza dons mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta, and the straightforward meat pizza sports a no-nonsense three-piece of pepperoni, sausage, and ground beef. Diners can also design custom pizzas to load crusts with peppers fashioned into portraits of their favorite cable repairmen.
Even among Lexington's other historic buildings, Bellini's Italianette-style architecture stands out; perhaps because the building has been a city fixture for close to 150 years. This was a large draw for long-time friends Giancarlo Marletta and Nader Iweimrin when they started the restaurant some 10 years ago. But Bellini's has been a shared success. Chef Craig Devilliers deftly helms the kitchen and insures quality with a strict sustainability pledge: organic and locally sourced seasonal ingredients whenever possible. The result is a dynamic menu pairing rack of lamb and diver scallops with modern accents of basil relish, blackberry compote, and sweet candied fennel.
Paisano's Italian Restaurant & Lounge isn't shaped like a boot, but that hasn't stopped the kitchen staff from serving up Italian favorites for 30 years. They toss toppings on pizzas, smear breading across cuts of veal and chicken, and ladle a marsala wine sauce over beef tenderloin and spaghetti. If the menu doesn't tip off the restaurant's Italian roots, its walls, which are covered in murals of Italian scenes such as the Tuscan countryside, Rome's Colosseum, and ravioli trees, will.