Pizza La Stella opens Friday


— A new pizza restaurant will open its doors on Fayetteville Street Friday.

Pizza La Stella is located at 219 Fayetteville St., in the old home of Bolt. The menu is all about wood-fired cuisine. Two large ovens, handmade in Italy, are the only warming devices in the kitchen to cook pizzas, wings, stromboli, calzones and even Brussels sprouts.

The structure might seem cumbersome, but these ovens are made to cook food fast.

In the pizza oven, pies will be cooked at about 1,000 degrees and ready in about 90 seconds. Everything else will get crispy in the other oven, which is set around 750 degrees.

Although the cooking times seem fast, La Stella managing partner Rudy Theale said the restaurant’s main focus is on authenticity, taste and freshness. The menu features a small slate of appetizers (meatballs, brussel sprouts, artichokes), salads, specialty pizzas and wings, with the focus on doing only a few things and doing them right, Theale said.

Among those things is a small selection of specialty wings, including the De La Casa (marinated in a house-sauce for four days before being charred and topped with caramelized onions).

The rustic decor, mainly reclaimed wood, fits well with the menu. Customers will walk in and place their orders at the front before taking a seat at one of the many booths, community tables or bar.

Each month, La Stella will feature a different local brewery. Not only will that beer be featured at the bar, but it will be included in the pizza dough and pies will be created to go specifically with the different beers.

Trophy Brewing will be the first local brewery featured. While it might sound odd – Trophy also serves pizza at its Morgan Street location – Theale said it actually was a perfect fit.

“They are a brewery that sells pizza, and we are a pizza restaurant that serves beer,” Theale said.

That won’t be the only local collaboration. Videri chocolate will be used in La Stella’s desserts.

For those interested in lunch specials, La Stella will offer a $9.95 menu featuring a drink and choice of a personal pizza, wings, meatballs, calzone or salad.

The late night crowd will really enjoy La Stella’s walk-up window on Fayetteville Street. There will be bar stools so patrons can just grab a seat and order a drink or pizza. The walk-up window will be open Fridays and Saturdays until 3 a.m.

Pizza will not be available by the slice. Theale said the ingredients used, especially Buffalo mozzarella, isn’t as easy to cut. Prices will range $14-$19 for pizzas.

While Theale is the managing partner, former Bolt Bistro owner David Sadeghi remains in the mix but is focusing on his other concepts – Town Hall Burger and Beer in Brier Chapel and Durham and Town Hall Grill in Chapel Hill.

Theale has been working on La Stella’s transformation for about 60 days.

When Out and About visited last week, the logos were about to be painted on the walls and chairs were still being assembled.

The most work was being done upstairs, in what Theale has dubbed The Loft Bar. The steam punk-inspired setting has an industrial theme with cozy nooks featuring vintage furniture and taxidermy. The spot will house a cocktail bar, featuring drinks with an Italian twist. The Hot Thin Mints cocktail features Videri Hot Cocoa and Fernet Branca, an Italian dark liqueur. The Loft will be open Wednesday through Sunday at 5 p.m. and will close at the same time the restaurant does.

Pizza La Stella plans to hold its soft opening on Friday from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Service will continue Saturday night at the same time. The restaurant will begin regular hours on Monday, Dec. 19. La Stella’s regular hours are Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. until midnight and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 3 a.m. The Loft will begin its regular hours on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.