The dough wizards at Papa John's create circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Pasquale's West Coast Pizzeria delights its guests with a smorgasbord of pizzas. Chefs prepare each one with an original, skinny, or pan crust, and offer the option of creating your own pie or choosing a specialty. The Maui Gourmet pizza, for example, comes loaded with bacon, pineapple, ham, roma tomatoes, onions, and sweet chili sauce.
Hearty baked pastas and cold and toasted deli subs are available as well. To cheese-stuffed ravioli or ham and turkey heroes, diners might add crispy, golden-brown garlic bread and some draft beer. Moreover, philanthropic patrons can gather at Pasquale's for fundraisers, with the pizzeria donating 25% of the proceeds and reserving the last slice of pie for any nonprofit.
"Steak house" is usually shorthand for fine dining that includes steak, but meat is truly the main event at Cleo's Brazilian Steak House. Modeled after a traditional Brazilian rodizio, the eatery spotlights more than 15 rotisserie meats, including sirloins seasoned in garlic or wrapped in bacon. Lamb, pork, chicken, and even grilled pineapple round out the rotisserie selection, which Cleo's team carves right at your table.
The buffet's salad fixings and other sides, such as rice and green beans, can accompany meals, as can beverages ranging from sangria to fresh juices. End Cleo's hearty feasts on a sweet note with desserts such as papaya cream spiked with cassis liqueur, a summertime treat more popular in Brazil than cookies shaped like Pelé.
When it first opened in 1979, La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill was a simple taqueria in Los Angeles. Its open kitchen gave patrons a front-row seat to watch chefs transform fresh ingredients into bold, memorable Mexican dishes. Today, the original concept has evolved into a booming franchise, but each location works on the same principle: add a modern twist to classic Mexican food. Chefs continue to work in an open-kitchen environment where they concoct seven types of homemade salsas—laced with ingredients such as fire-roasted roma tomatoes, cilantro and garlic, and even mango—to complement carne asada tacos, Los Cabos shrimp burritos, and hefty bowls packed with chicken, fire-roasted veggies, and plenty of cheese. The kitchen crew also assembles large breakfasts of eggs and chorizo, as well as huevos rancheros for early risers.
Bars typically stay open from late afternoon until well past midnight. But Produce Alley Sports Tavern takes the opposite approach, hosting pub-style breakfasts and lunches between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Using daily goods from the surrounding Golden Gate Produce Market, the tavern's chefs top three-egg shrimp omelets with avocado and douse chicken-fried steak with gravy.
By lunchtime, the cooks turn their attention to grilling skirt steaks marinated in balsamic vinegar and rosemary, as well as crowning open-faced burgers with grilled onions and mushrooms. Amid feasts complemented by freshly ground coffee or beer, patrons can watch sports highlights on flat-screen TVs or play a round of pool in Produce Alley's billiards room.
Absence makes the heart grow founder, as the saying goes. And for husband and wife, Peter and Laddawan (“Mae”), that couldn’t be truer. The Thailand-born duo decided that after 20 years of working 12-hour days in restaurants in America, including their own, they needed a break. But, nearly a year after selling their restaurant and retiring, Peter and Mae found themselves itching to get back into the business. So they established Chang Puak - White Elephant Restaurant in December 2006.
At White Elephant, Peter, Mae, their children, and a niece work together to serve up the same type of food Mae learned to cook in Thailand and perfected over the years. These traditional dishes range from a yellow curry with chicken to a tom yum prawn soup with a touch of chili. This soup in particular is known for its ability to clear stuffy sinuses faster than snorting pepper.
No matter what dish patrons order, the family endeavors to treat them like royalty—after all, the restaurant was named after the sacred white elephants owned by the royal family of Thailand. Like the restaurant’s guests, these elephants are fed well and are always treated with respect.