Matt Nobile and John Araujo can honestly say they had a hand in the creation of everything at Bella Gusto Urban Pizzeria—from the construction of the bar, to the items on the menu, to the dishes they both make every day by hand.
The co-owners and chefs started the Chandler restaurant back in March 2016 and have poured thousands of hours of work into the establishment since then—and seeing their regulars’ faces every week, sometimes more than once, lets them know their work has paid off.
“We definitely wanted the place to be warm like those old-school Italian restaurants,” Nobile said. “Like, when you come in, you know you’re home and you’re at a supper table. We want people to stay and have a drink, have two drinks, have dessert, and feel like they don’t need to be bothered like they need to get out of their seat and leave.”
The business partners moved to the Phoenix area from Dallas to open Bella Gusto, armed with a shared dream and a wealth of knowledge from their careers in the food industry.
Nobile helped operate the restaurants of Bobby Flay and Mario Batali in Las Vegas before heading to Dallas, where he was a senior sous chef for the Dallas Cowboys. Araujo worked for Romano’s Macaroni Grill as a corporate research and development sous chef before moving on to a Dallas restaurant known as one of the top 50 in the nation for best pizza so he could gain more knowledge in authentic Neapolitan pizza.
They brought their experiences together to create a menu covering all the classic Italian dishes, including Margherita pizza, gnocchi Bolognese and much more.
“A lot of folks that have been to Italy—Naples, specifically—the food is why they are here all the time because they get it just like they got it back home,” Araujo said. “It’s the authenticity of it. Everything is made by hand, whereas a lot of ingredients that you get at other places are just bought. With us, when you come in and have our pasta, that’s our pasta. You aren’t going to taste that anywhere else.”
Nobile said customers enjoy the food and the atmosphere, but he said it is the authenticity that keeps people coming back.
“We want to be known as that spot where you are going to get really good, authentic food that you could get in Italy,” Nobile said.
Bella Gusto Urban Pizzeria
1964 N. Alma School Road, Ste. 1, Chandler
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 4-9 p.m., closed Mon.