A New Twist on a Neighborhood Favorite

Nello’s Ahwatukee changes ownership but keeps what makes the local eatery a hit

Since 1996, Nello’s Ahwatukee has been a neighborhood staple dedicated to creating a welcoming space for family and friends to gather and enjoy delicious food. Recently, its original owners retired and long-time Ahwatukee resident Roque Jimenez and his business partner Bob Schulken purchased the popular local restaurant. Both new owners are enthusiastic about continuing the traditions that have made Nello’s a success while also offering customers a refreshed look and adding to the already delicious menu.

“I’m a native of Arizona and grew up in the Southeast Valley,” says Roque Jimenez. “Nello’s was an institution while I was growing up. My wife and I went there when we were dating and now we take our kids there. Nello’s has always been my favorite pizza restaurant, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue the traditions that have made Nello’s a household favorite.”

Jimenez and Schulken are long-time friends and business partners with extensive restaurant experience and expertise. The duo has owned Cien Agaves Tacos & Tequila, a popular restaurant with two Scottsdale locations, for 15 years.

“We want to take what is already wonderful about Nello’s Ahwatukee and add to it,” Schulken explains. “Our experience with running Cien Agaves combined with our knowledge about Nello’s and the local community is a winning combination to help Nello’s continue to be a local favorite and even draw in Ahwatukee residents who have never been there.”

Jimenez says that one of the things that makes Nello’s Ahwatukee one-of-a-kind is its staff.

“The people of Nello’s make all the difference; most employees have been there for many years,” he explains. “There are servers who have been with the restaurant over 20 years, a chef who has been there over 25 years. Keeping employees, the backbone of Nello’s, is important to us—they’re like one big family.”

In addition to the people, Jimenez points to the quality food that Nello’s is known for. “It’s all made from scratch—the dough and pasta are made fresh every morning,” he says. “It’s made with the highest quality ingredients, and you can truly taste that when you take your first bite.”

Some delicious news to share with Nello’s fans is to look out for brunch options and a freshly remodeled patio with new furniture. In addition, for the first time in its history, Nello’s will be open on Mondays and feature fun specials, such as a “Board and Bottle” special with bruschetta paired with a favorite wine. For Nello’s patrons who want to try their favorite bites from home, the restaurant is refreshing their website with local delivery and take-out options.

“During the height of the pandemic they had to scale down the menu a bit, but now we’re bringing everything customers love back, including wood fire pizzas nightly, our famous parlour burgers, and bruschetta, just to name a few,” Schulken says. “We’re also bringing in some new dishes that fit Nello’s perfectly—of course, we’re keeping the current favorites as well.”

This fall, there will also be monthly beer and wine dinners, with details available on Facebook (@NellosAhwatukee) and in the restaurant’s regular newsletters that customers can sign up for on their website.

“Nello’s is a place you can always see your friends and neighbors, it’s like the ‘Cheers’ of Ahwatukee,” Jimenez says. “While we plan to make some positive changes, it’s important to us that Nello’s never loses that local spark that has made it what it is today.”

Nello’s Ahwatukee is located at 4710 E. Warner Road. NellosPizza.com

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