Mike and Terry Schneider already knew what it took to run a restaurant when they opened The Loop Pizza Grill more than 20 years ago. Previously the owners of Jacksonville’s neighborhood hangout Applejacks, the Schneiders wanted to create a pizza place that was both elegant and laid-back, just like the Queen of England in a tracksuit. At each of their 14 locations, they and their kitchen staff whip up a menu of specialty pizzas, fire-grilled burgers, and verdant salads with fresh, handpicked ingredients, serving each carefully crafted selection on real china.
For Mike and Terry Schneider, opening the first Loop Pizza Grill franchise more than two decades ago was a culinary hail-mary. The Schneiders had struck gold with their first foray into the restaurant industry—Jacksonville's popular Applejacks franchise—but that success did not follow them when they expanded to a second location. Saddled with unused kitchen equipment, they came up with a bold idea: double down and create the perfect pizza place.
The Schneiders knew that pizza joints were magnets for the young and hurried crowd, so they set out to craft a menu that would also appeal to the discerning palate. They stocked their kitchen with hand-picked ingredients and used real china to plate their pizzas, fire-grilled burgers, and salads. The couple's gamble paid off and The Loop Pizza Grill was a hit—and it still thrives today. Since opening its first spot in 1988, The Loop has popped up in 14 locations in two states, much like a pizza delivery boy with a very fast bike.
When guests sink their teeth into a slice of Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, there is a taste beyond the fresh Wisconsin cheese and made-daily pizza dough: there’s the subtle yet unmistakable flavor of a real wood fire. The brick ovens torch the pies moments before servers whisk them to diners, who dig into pizzas that come adorned with roasted chicken or artichokes. The meals easily conform to special dietary requirements by swapping in substitute ingredients, such as gluten-free crusts, vegan cheeses, and toppings that don’t contain an odd number of vowels.
In the kitchen at Mario’s Pizza, chefs heap cheese, steak, and sun-dried tomatoes onto oversize New York–style and sicilian pizza crusts. A white pizza covered in ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, and mozzarella reminds taste buds of eating a delicious snowman, and comes in sizes ranging from 10 inches to as large as 19 inches. Baked pasta and sandwiches, such as a philly steak or veal parmigiana, round out the menu.
Bambino Brothers Pizza serves New York–style pies crafted from hand-tossed dough and made-from-scratch sauce. Wardrobe your thin-crusted creation in two toppings of your choice, selecting from classic accoutrements such as pepperoni, sausage, green olives, tomatoes, ham, mushrooms, spinach, feta, fresh garlic, and more. Double up on tasty protein such as salami and Canadian bacon if you need a pick-me-up after watching your favorite star get the ballroom-dancing boot, or place a pie with two veggie toppers on an open windowsill if you want to woo a brontosaurus. Round out your already circular repast by adding an appetizer of hot wings ($6.95 for 10), a specialty salad ($5–$6.95), sub sandwich ($5.95 for an 8"), or hot Italian dinner to your order.