Authentic Italian Pizza + More at Pizza La Stella on Fayetteville Street Raleigh

Last week we had the pleasure of having dinner at the new Pizza La Stella restaurant located in the former Bolt Bistro space on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The whole place has been completely renovated and changed. Much cozier and warmer. High ceilings with floating wood beams make for a great casual atmosphere. You order upon entering and then you can select where you would like to sit. The first thing you notice if you head to the bar is the view of the two blue brick ovens in the kitchen. Everything is cooked in these custom built Stefano Ferrara ovens that were made and delivered from Italy. These ovens easily reach 900 degrees, cooking Neopolitan style pizzas in under 90 seconds.

We started with some antipasti dishes, trying out the Fire-Roasted Brussel Sprouts (Bacon bourbon whole grain mustard, rosemary, honey) and Honey Burrata, (Sweet Italian cheese, accented with honey, basil, Focaccia breadcrumbs). Both very good starters. We also ordered a Caprese salad that was delicious with cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Not to be missed are the Wood-Fired Wings! We sampled a mix of the Honey Habanero (VERY HOT), The De La Casa featuring caramelized onion garnish, and the Old-Fashioned with apple cider bourbon, cinnamon and charred orange (my favorite)

Finally the real reason we are here…PIZZA! And yes we will be back for more! The Neopolitan-style pizza cooks fast (like in 90 seconds!) and for sure our teenagers will LOVE it!  Definitely a cool casual place to come back to as a family. We ordered the Margherita pizza (Mozzarella di bufala, San Marzano tomatoes, basil) and the Carnoso (Fontina cheese, San Marzano tomatoes, soppressata, Italian sausage, guanciale (Italian bacon), garlic confit). SO good!There are several local NC beers on tap to choose from as well as Peroni, red and white wine, and craft cocktails. I had a fantastic Montepluciano that paired nicely with pizza.

While downstairs is cooking up delicious pizza and other tasty offerings from the wood-fire ovens, my personal favorite was exploring the Loft upstairs. This cozy and eclectic space is just perfect for escaping the hustle of Fayetteville street for a while, relaxing and enjoying a craft cocktail. A definite potential Raleigh “hidden gem”. Once you discover it you will be back. Live music on Thursdays.

Lastly, Pizza La Stella is a great lunch spot. It’s conveniently located to many downtown businesses, the space has lots of seating and you order when you arrive and food arrives quickly, making the most of your lunch hour!

Arrivare rapidamente and try it out for yourself!

Read the full review on the RaleighWhatsUp blog.

Five-Star Yelp Review — Brittany G

Pizza La Stella, thank you for giving me delicious pizza in downtown Raleigh. After having to deal with meh food and less than meh service from OTHER downtown pizza spots (i’m looking at you Z Pizza) i’m so glad I have a spot I can grab a seriously craveable pie!

I stopped in this really cold afternoon with a coworker, looking to try something new that would hopefully warm us up. I remember reading that Pizza La Stella is fast casual for lunch (maybe for dinner too? Not sure) so decided to use our hour to grab some pizza. First things first you place your order at the front. Right now it’s a fine spot but they need to move it in a bit when it gets busier (I imagine the line getting pretty congested in it’s current spot). After you order they give you a number and you find a spot/grab your drink.

First off bonus points for having Cheerwine! And vanilla flavor (even though it was out). I ordered the Sweet Cheezus (hahaha cheese pun) for $12.95 and it was gooooooood. The cheeses really complimented each other nicely and the size (I think around 12 inches) was perfect for lunch. My only note would be to request the garlic crushed on it. They come whole so I just crushed it myself, but i’ll keep it in mind for next time. My coworker got a salad and seemed to enjoy it.

Service was great as well, we were check on several times and our plates cleaned up for us right as we got ready to go. The food also came out VERY fast which is great for our strict hour lunch-limit. As we were finishing up we were even checked on by who I imagine was an owner or manager, a very nice man who asked us for feedback and thanked us for coming in!

All in all I will definitely be back. Everyone was so nice, the food was great and the value was perfect for what we received! Welcome to the neighborhood Pizza La Stella!

Read the full review on Yelp.

Welcome to Raleighwood Blog

Welcome to Raleighwood, a local Raleigh food blogger, stopped by Pizza La Stella and shared some kind words about us on her blog!

“I’m not going to lie, I was thinking in this big ole brain of mine, how good can the pizza be?  The answer is unbelievably good. Like how in the world is this even possible good. The hubs took one bite and immediately followed it with a, “Yea, we’re coming back here…”

To read the rest of her article, click here.

Pizza La Stella Opens Friday

RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.

Read more here.

Pizza La Stella Opening Friday in Downtown Raleigh’s Former Bolt Bistro

The owner of Pizza La Stella said they plan to open Friday in downtown Raleigh’s former Bolt Bistro.

The casual Neopolitan pizza place is moving into a prime-but-troubled location on downtown Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street.

In 2008, the city spent $1 million to renovate its ground-floor property at One Exchange Plaza and lured a fine-dining restaurant to occupy the space in an effort to bring people downtown. The Mint, a white-tablecloth restaurant serving a molecular gastronomy-inflected menu, lasted four years before closing; some blaming its expensive menu.

Next came Bolt Bistro, which lasted another four years before shutting down. Bolt’s owner David Sadeghi, who also owns Town Hall Burger and Beer in Chapel Hill and Durham, said the restaurant’s atmosphere was too formal to attract walk-in customers. Sadeghi and entrepreneur Rudy Theale became partners to convert Bolt into Pizza La Stella with hopes of attracting more casual customers and fans of Neopolitian pizza.

The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will offer takeout and full service with seating for 100 inside, 50 in the upstairs bar called The Loft at Stella and another 60 outside when the weather permits. The interior has been refurbished with barn wood, wooden beams and casual banquettes.

Theale is focusing on the Neopolitan pizza made in two almost 7,000-pound wood-fired ovens.

Everything on the menu except the salads is cooked in those ovens. That includes the antipasti (roasted artichokes with pistachio pesto, fire-roasted Brussels sprouts and gluten-free meatballs, prices range from about $7-$10); wings (House wings with charred, caramelized onion garnish, Hot with honey and Calabrian peppers and Old Fashioned with apple cider bourbon, cinnamon and charred orange; prices around $14); as well as strombolis and calzones

And, of course, the pizzas, which are available with red sauce, white sauce, specialty pizzas (an Italian take on the ham-and-pineapple pizza looks intriguing) and build your own. Prices are about $14-$19. For the downtown lunch crowd, Theale said they will offer a lunch special with either wings, 10-inch pizza, salad, meatballs or calzone and a drink for $9.99.

The menu also includes desserts, like gelato and a Bourbon Caramel S’mores for $9 with Videri chocolate, melted marshmallow and graham crackle crumble, which is large enough to share looks promising.

The bar will serve a 18 draft beers, mainly from local breweries, including Trophy Brewing Co., Neuse River Brewing Co. and Crank Arm Brewing, as well as another two dozen beers in cans or bottles. Craft cocktails will be featured upstairs in The Loft, a steam-punk-meets-granny’s-living-room space that is far from a stuffy cocktail bar.

If anyone sees the space’s troubled past as an asset, it is Theale, a technology entrepreneur turned restaurateur who is a partner in three pizza restaurants in Jacksonville, Fla. Theale only sees the upside: if people are familiar with the space’s history, at least they know the location.

On Tuesday, Theale said, “Adversity doesn’t scare me. Sometimes I fail miserably. Most of the time I get through it.”

In a 2001 article in Florida Trend, a business magazine, writer John Finotti mentioned Theale in an article about the then struggling business ventures of Teddy Turner, the eldest son of media mogul and businessman Ted Turner. Finotti wrote: “Turner hooked up with Rudy Theale Jr., a sales and marketing whiz who had started and sold several businesses by the time he was 24. In 1997, they created LocalNet Communications to sell set-top internet boxes and telecommunications services through a multi-level marketing operation. Before long, however, LocalNet also ran into trouble. Distributors who’d signed up to sell the service complained when the company didn’t refund their money when the service failed to materialize.” Theale and Turner’s business ended up being acquired by another company.

Theale said he later began investing in restaurants, first in California and then Florida. Theale explained what he likes about the restaurant business versus technology industry: it takes six months to fix something with a tech product but he can fix something at a restaurant instantly.

Theale said he is hopeful that if he and his employees work hard to create an inviting restaurant serving great food that Raleigh folks will be even more supportive given the location’s past.

Theale said: “If they see us making a huge effort and we knock it out the park, they will forget that.”

Pizza La Stella is at 219 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, 984-200-2441,; Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-midnight Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

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