Nella Grassano: chef and restaurateur of Nella Pizza e Pasta

Meet Nella Grassano, chef and restaurateur of Nella Pizza e Pasta Nella Pizza e Pasta located at 1125 E. 55th Street, Chicago, 60615. Nella was born and raised in Naples, Italy. The story of her trek to Chicago is rather romantic. She met her husband Frank, a resident of the Bridgeport neighborhood, when she was visiting Chicago. Her grandmother introduced them. They decided to get married and live here.

” I’m the four generation of a pizza making family, and I learning the craft of Neapolitan pizza at the age of six.  This immediately became my passion.”

” We were approached by the University of Chicago and they asked if we would like to locate in this new building [1125 E 55th Street]. We live close to Hyde Park. At the time, our restaurant was a big commute to Lincoln Park. This was a marvelous chance to build a great restaurant that is close to our home. “

“On the issue of what makes NELLA different from the American caricature of an Italian restaurant, Nella Pizza e Pasta is an authentic Neapolitan restaurant. When I hear about local cuisine, I do laugh. That is Italian cuisine. In Naples, we are on the coast. Therefore, our cuisine is heavy on seafood. We do not have a ton of heavy sauces on our pastas or dressings on our salads. If you come to Nella, you will be eating as our family eats in Naples.”

“As Anthony Bourdain put it, my ‘Last Supper’ meal or my ‘Death Row’ meal, are Insalata mista, our wonderful fritto misto and our Nella D.O.P. pizza. Oh, and a nice Italian red wine.”

1125 E 55the Street
Chicago, IL 60615/ (773) 643-0603
Sunday: 9:30am – 10:00am
Monday – Thursday: 10:30am – 10:00pm
Friday: 10:30am – 11:00pm
Saturday: 9:30am – 11:00pm

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