Bella Mia — Restaurant of the Year

Greg Cox of the News & Observer named Bella Mia his “Restaurant of the Year.” Now some people have asked, “A pizza joint?  Restaurant of the year? Seriously?”

My response: Most definitely.

Note that Cox did not say Bella Mia was the best restaurant of the year.  Nor did he give it his highest rating of 5 stars — it only received 4 stars.

So why does Bella Mia deserve to be called the Restaurant of the Year?  When one looks at the state of pizza in the Triangle a year ago, there are a lot of places that make a decent pie.  Some have wood-fired ovens, some use great ingredients, and you could always get a solid pizza.  But could you get a transcendent pizza?  No.

Bella Mia makes a transcendent pizza.  Their coal-fired oven hits temperatures of nearly 1,000 degrees.  The Guerra brothers, Louis and Anthony, use the finest ingredients and cook those pizzas with just the right amount of char.  There is no place in North Carolina that comes close to this play.  Some individuals may disagree, but the consensus is that Bella Mia is unlike any pizzeria that came before it in our area.  And because it is so much better than anyone else makes it worthy of the ROTY designation.

This is the only restaurant with which I am totally obsessed.  I’ve probably eaten there 30-40 times since they opened.  I’ve gotten to know the Guerra family fairly well, and when you think of how big of a chance they took, investing in beautiful tile-laden coal-fired ovens in the back of a Cary strip mall, I can’t help but smile over their success.  They dared to raise the bar for an iconic food like pizza, and they blew away the competition in doing so.

So congratulations to Bella Mia and the Guerra family.  And a big thumbs up to Greg Cox to have the balls to pick a pizza joint as his Restaurant of the Year.  Who’da thunk it?

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9 Responses to Bella Mia — Restaurant of the Year

  1. Wednesday210 says:

    Yes! The great God of pizza heaven has spoken! I loved Bella Mia from the very first pie. I feel so vindicated. Honor the char, people.

  2. Michael says:

    I was so excited when I saw this. I have been going to Bella Mia as often as possible! I can’t thank Rick and his family enough for being willing to take a chance and open a pizza place like this in Cary. Everytime I go I am amazed at how wonderful my experience is. Thanks again! Congrats to Bella Mia!!!

  3. ben says:

    Right on! Bella Mia really raises takes pizza to the next level in the Triangle, and helps round out the area’s excellent culinary scene.

  4. steven greene says:

    Couldn’t be more excited for these guys, Nobody works harder and puts more passion into the food than them. They make you feel right at home from the very instance you walk through the door. Not to mention they have the best espresso around.

  5. MB says:

    I am addicted to this restaurant and although the pizza is wonderful, the meatballs are addictive. Now if I can just get them to open on Sunday nights for football 🙂 Thanks to Rick and his family for such a wonderful restaurant.

  6. Terry says:

    Guess I’m a bit of a dissenter here. The pie is good, but on my one trip there, the toppings (for the Broadway their most expensive pie) were really skimpy. About 2/3 of the pie was bare. And the crust was not nearly as crisp as it should have been.

    My all time best pizza was at Di Fara’s in Brooklyn. Now that was transcendent.

  7. Can’t believe no one mentioned the chicken wings, my favorite thing on the menu! Oven fired chicken wings at Bella Mia are totally brilliant. Another fave thing about the restaurant: not only do they know what Burrata is, they fly it in every so often and serve it on that gorgeous crust. I’m charry-eyed just thinking about it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get the accolades. OK, the crust is good. That’s as far as I’ll go. We went with a group from work and tried several different pies. My take is that most of the ladies were OK with it, but most of the guys (carnivores) were disappointed. If you want coal fired baked bread with a smattering of flavorings, this is the place for you.

  9. Anonymous says:

    In July, al Dente Coal Fired Pizza, opened in the old Wildflour space in North Raleigh. The Stonehenge Shopping Center on Creedmoor Road. Yes. The coal is anthrocite from PA and the toppings are fresh and plentiful. Check them out for a great glass of wine and an authentic coal fired pizza!!

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