The next time your family is craving pizza, give your family the pleasure of trying “The Best Pizza in Arizona”, Nello’s Pizza! You will surely wonder why you ever wasted all those numerous past pizza cravings on generic cardboard-tasting pizzas you’ll find at some other local pizza joints. Why did Nello’s win the “Best Pizza in Arizona” award? Maybe it has something to do with their perfectly baked crust. Or it could have something to do with the original, mouth-watering, freshly-made pizza sauce. Or maybe it’s due to the authentic Chicago style Italian recipes. Whatever the reason, Nello’s pizza is like no other!
Founded in 1983 by 1 of 4 brothers, Geno Mei, Nello’s Pizza originally started as a 16 customer capacity sandwich shop. Mrs. Mei, Geno’s mother, helped come up with the restaurant’s name which was compiled from grandchildren’s names. The name was originally supposed to be Janellotico, but when it came down to signage, they came to learn each letter cost around $200. In order to save money they shortened the name to Nello’s. Though the first year was a struggle for the restaurant, they still managed to focus on making sure they took care of every customer that walked through the door. Two of Geno’s brothers, Danny and Brian, jumped on board to support their brothers’ dream from the start. Their hard work and dedication soon paid off and, a year after the restaurant opened, they were awarded the New Times award for “best pizza” who labeled it “a buy beyond perfection”.
Surprisingly, pizza was not originally part of the menu when Nello’s first opened, but was later added to the menu shortly after the restaurant was founded. Pizza is what they have become famous for, with their pizza crust recipe inspired by Geno’s mother’s fruit pie crust recipes. Two years after the restaurant was founded, his older brother Ray moved to Arizona from Chicago. Now, all four brothers became getting involved in the expansions and great success that followed. Eventually, each of the four brothers got the opportunity to manage their own Nello’s as they expanded to 4 locations all over the Phoenix area.
Twenty nine years later you can still find a Nello’s near you, with locations throughout the Phoenix valley. There is a Nello’s restaurant in Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix/Ahwatukee, and Scottsdale. Each location has roughly 80% of the same food and great recipes, but each has added its own unique twist to the menu. With a combination of great service and delicious food, there is no question why Nello’s was voted the 2012 Social Choice Awards best pizza in Arizona on SocialNetworkArizona.com. Nello’s dominated the competition, receiving more than twice as many votes as the second place contestant.
We recently had the privilege of meeting with the owners of Nello’s in Scottsdale, Jeff and Virginia, to present them with their Social Choice award plaque. They were such a pleasant, down to earth, friendly couple who provided us great hospitality and charming conversation. One thing that really caught my eye in the restaurant were the walls filled with art in every direction. These works of art are produced by local artists and the collection includes some very interesting artwork! Be sure to check out the art in the restroom on your next visit! The cool thing is if you like an art piece you see hanging on the wall, it’s probably up for sale. By purchasing the art you are showing support for Arizona’s local art scene.
Overall, Nello’s provides an awesome dining experience. The pizza is to die for, the atmosphere is very welcoming, and the staff is extremely friendly. If you have not had the privilege of tasting and experiencing a meal at Nello’s, it should definitely be on your list of places to try in the very near future. For a list of locations nearest you, visit http://www.nellosscottsdale.com/arizona/. Mangia bene!!