Bellissimo

Serving up Italian on Colleyville's main drag

Friendly service and a menu of mostly classics are keys to keeping Bellissimo going for more than 13 years.

Brothers Eddie and Al Bojku own and run the restaurant with the help of their families.

Eddie is the primary chef, developing new dishes to use as specials or add to the selection. Al and his wife, Susan, run the front of the house.

The Bojkus' restaurant experience comes from New Jersey, where the family owned La Favorita Pizza and Pasta for about six years. They were attracted here by Colleyville's lifestyle.

"It's a nice place to have a family and raise kids," Eddie said.

The restaurant primarily serves classic Italian dishes, including chicken parmigiana ($11.95) and linguini primavera ($10.95), and some variations on the usual, such as lobster ravioli in a pink vodka sauce ($12.95). There's also a rolling menu of dessert options — often including dishes such as cappuccino pie, cannoli, tiramisu and cheesecake — but diners must request the list from a server.

The atmosphere is intimate, with dark furniture and pictures of Italy on the walls.

Dave Hamacher has frequented the spot for 12 years. His favorite dish is chicken Scarparello, while his wife likes chicken Bellissimo.

"We enjoy the food, we enjoy the family atmosphere, the service and the folks have taken very good care of us over the years," Hamacher said.

He said they have especially gotten to know Al and Susan.

"They do a good job of training the wait staff so that no matter who waits on you, you're going to get good, consistent service," Hamacher said.

Eddie said the food is prepared when customers order it.

"We use very fresh ingredients, basically, nothing stored," he said.

One benefit to working with family, Al said, is the shared investment in the restaurant's success.

"Restaurants are a hard business, you know, a lot of work," Al said. "But you know, we have a lot of family support, especially with extra help if you need something. Sometimes you want to ask somebody for more, to push better; you push family a little harder."

Bellissimo has a private room that can seat up to 40 and that can be reserved for private events. The Bojkus also cater special events.

The restaurant has provided what Eddie called "a comfortable life" for the family since it opened Nov. 1, 1999.

He said that at first large crowds came to try new fare and a new atmosphere, but in subsequent years business has stabilized to include many regulars and a few new customers.

Bellissimo's relies on word of mouth to bring in new diners.

"We're still going strong, thank God," Eddie said. "So far, so good."

Owners' recommendations

Seafood Combo – shrimp, mussels, calamari and clams in a garlic white wine marinara sauce ($16.95).

Chicken Sunrise – sauteed with shallots, sundried tomatoes and Portobello mushrooms in a sherry wine cream sauce ($12.95, $15.95 with shrimp).

Cheese Tortellini Michelangelo – sauteed with onions, bacon, diced tomatoes and artichoke hearts in a pink sauce ($10.95).

Florentine Pizza – White or red pizza topped with spinach, tomatoes, mushroom and garlic ($14.95).

Private room

Off the main dining area is a private dining room that seats 40. The menu and prices are set. Contact the owners to reserve it.

Make no mistake

The sign outside spells Bellissimo with only one 's,' but the correct spelling of the restaurant's name is Bellissimo. The original sign was missing the second 's' and the Bojkus decided to leave it that way.

BYOB

Guests who want wine or beer are welcome to bring their own. Bellissimo will provide glasses and have staff open the wine.

Bellissimo, 5309 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville, 817-427-8080, www.bellissimoitalian.com/bi

Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday