Phoenix, AZ

Neighborhood Pizzeria Closes After Nearly 20 Years

Greyson F

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A local pizza and Italian restaurant has closed.Matthew Feeney/Unsplash

Another day, another restaurant closure in metro Phoenix. Many restaurants are doing whatever they can to make it through the summer and the return of students, snowbirds, and cooler temperatures. However, one local establishment, a fixture in Chandler and Phoenix, wasn’t able to make it, and has now, without much warning or fanfare, closed its doors.

La Stalla Rustica Cucina has spent 18 years in the Valley. The restaurant has origins that span all the way to Italy, when Antonio Vetrati moved from a small fishing village to New Jersey in 1952. Upon arriving, he found work in a local pizzeria, where he helped bring his knowledge of Italian food to the table. Antonio, as well as his family, eventually owned a restaurant in New Jersey. However, like many other Northeasterners, he wanted to feel the warmth on his skin year-round, and as such came out to the greater Phoenix area to open a restaurant. La Stalla Cucina Rustica launched 18 years ago, although in 2018 ownership of the restaurant decided to jump from downtown Chandler to 4855 East Warner Road in the Ahwatukee community of Phoenix.

And now, after 18 years, the restaurant is no more. There is no word yet as to why the restaurant decided to unexpectedly close. It does not have a social media presence, and its website has not been updated. Ownership also hasn’t responded to any correspondence.

The restaurant was best known not only for its Tuscan-influenced interior but its extensive menu. Guests could order appetizers including fried calamari, tomato bruschetta, sauteed mussels, and antipasto Italiano. For visitors interested in pasta, the menu featured everything from spaghetti and meatballs, seafood linguine, and penne vodka, all the way to Japanese squash ravioli and lasagna (which came with homemade baked pasta). Entrees included the ever-popular chicken marsala and chicken parmigiana, as well as lemon chicken, eggplant rollatini, and lamb chops. Finally, visitors of the restaurant will no longer be able to enjoy the specialty pizza, all of which were handmade. Margherita, meat lovers, four seasons (artichokes, prosciutto, sausage, and mushrooms), chicken and pesto, and the restaurant’s signature pizza, featuring homemade plum tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella and basil will now be no more.

The restaurant did occupy a rather large slice of property in an older strip mall, which has long been occupied by restaurants over the years, so there’s a good chance another restaurant will eventually move in and take over the space.

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