Just weeks before his wedding in 2006, Vaughan Lazar sat down with his college friend Michael Gordon. They weren’t fine-tuning toasts or planning the bachelor party, but rather intently discussing what they could do to make a difference in the lives of others. After a round of brainstorming, they realized that there was a lack of organic restaurants with quick dine-in, pickup, or delivery options, and thus, Pizza Fusion was born. Their menu features pizzas with regular, multigrain, and gluten-free crusts made from scratch and crowned with local produce, free-range chicken, and vegan toppings. Wine, gluten-free beer, and all-natural soft drinks from Honest Tea and Boylan accompany salads tossed with pear and gorgonzola or sandwiches stacked with portobello mushrooms and pesto. In addition to their organic pantry, the restaurant franchise keeps the environment clean, taking measures such as supplying a fleet of hybrid delivery cars for each store, constructing LEED-certified buildings, and purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset 100% of its power consumption. The pizza place is also home to the Organic Kids Club, which teaches children lessons in basic organics and rewards them with Pizza Fusion diplomas and early registration privleges for future semesters.
In the kitchens at Kyklos Greek Cafe, Sophocles, Constantine, and Ioannis Frangakis devise tasty dishes that draw on their Greek heritage and family recipes. Diners can select entrees from the eatery's medley of gyros, including the chicken gyros supreme, topped with feta cheese, and the philly gyros, replete with hot sauce and a Liberty Bell-esque crack in its pita bread. The menu further quells belly rumblings with an eclectic mix of homemade hunger-fixers, including greek salad, lamb-stuffed grape leaves, and the mediterranean sampler plate, a medley of falafel, tahini, hummus, tabbouleh, kalamata olives, and pita bread used to sop up every last morsel. Complete the transition from an innie to an outie with a bellybutton-bursting dessert, such as homemade baklava or melomakarona, traditional Greek–style cookies dipped in honey and topped with crunchy walnuts.
In 1959, Joe Aurelio Jr. opened a four-table restaurant in a suburb of Chicago to sell his home-cooked italian beef and pizzas. Slowly, the business grew, until it had taken over four storefronts—but it was still too small for the lines that stretched down the block. In 1977, Aurelio’s moved into a new, 12,000-square-foot space to become world's largest pizzeria. But demand continued to grow.
Today, cooks knead out the Aurelio family's secret pizza recipe and rehearse the Aurelio family's secret handshake at more than 40 locations across the country. They pile classic ingredients atop thin-crust pies, or bake up thick-crust renditions, stuffed pizzas, and Calabreses filled with spinach and cheese. Though the spotlight shines brightest on the pizza these days, the italian beef is still around, anchoring a menu of toasted sandwiches and pasta dishes.
WildBurger fortifies visitors for Wildfire Casinos' whirling slot machines, video poker, and reel games with a concise menu of elevated American eats. Choose a half pound of Angus beef or a hand-breaded chicken breast with predetermined fixings, or build a custom-tailored meal. Gruyère cheese, fried eggs, and the house's signature slaw can crown a fluffy brioche bun or lend flavor to a lettuce wrap, and the sauces are an event unto themselves. Hot dogs and fries get a kick from house-made buttermilk ranch dressing and roasted-garlic ketchup, and baskets of chicken wings provide a vehicle for 10 glazes, including teriyaki with a hint of orange or spicy honey mustard. The chefs flip omelets and pancakes from 11 p.m. to 1 p.m., and they pay tribute to the lifetime achievements of Little Debbie with house riffs on Ding Dongs and deep-fried Twinkies.