Jean Pelissero started his culinary acareer as a chef’s apprentice in France when he was 15. By age 23, after a several-year tenure as the assistant executive chef at Montreal’s Hilton International, he owned his first restaurant.

Pelissero is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Pizzeria Casa Nostra, an eatery he opened Nov. 5, 2018, after a short retirement from the restaurant industry. Pelissero’s Pizzeria Casa Nostra is an authentic northern Italian restaurant located in the hills of Spicewood and comes complete with an Italian-made rotating pizza oven, which Pelissero said is one of three in the state.

Pelissero said his parents are from northern Italy, and he grew up with cuisine from that region.

The restaurant offers an authentic experience unique to Austin and prioritizes fresh ingredients, according to Patrick Staub, Pizzeria Casa Nostra’s general manager and an Austin native.

Staub describes the day-to-day workload in an Italian restaurant as strenuous. For example, he said, making the sauce is an incredibly labor-intensive process using tomatoes shipped from the Campania region of Italy.

Pelissero agrees, and adds that nuance and experience are needed to create the food in his restaurant. To give the homemade pizza dough a lighter more digestible crust, it has to rest for three days before being used, he said.

The feedback on Casa Nostra’s pizza has been overwhelmingly positive, Staub said, adding the restaurant has a casual, family-oriented atmosphere, with an Italian wine selection for the adults.

The pizza is cooked quickly at a high temperature—about 700 degrees—resulting in a sturdy, crispy crust, and the rotating wood-fired oven, called the Forza Forni Bistro, ensures that each one is evenly cooked, Pelissero said.

Along with its pizza selection, Casa Nostra’s menu offers a variety of upscale dishes, including linguini with clams, lasagna Bolognese and a pasta carbonara. The menu also features dinner specials such as osso buco and French duck confit.

Occasionally, Staub said, Pelissero’s French upbringing is reflected in the menu, and that intercultural influence has helped develop a devoted clientele for the establishment.

“You won’t find our recipes in other places,” Staub said. “We have a lot of regulars from the area. We know their kids. We know their stories.”

Pizzeria Casa Nostra

21209 Hwy. 71, Spicewood


Hours: Wed.-Mon. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Tue.