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Perfectly Picazzo’s

A Fusion Approach to Modern Italian Cuisine Made With Healthy Ingredients That Meets All Dietary Requirements

Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen is an Arizona-based, family-owned and -operated restaurant with locations in Tempe, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Arrowhead, and Gilbert. The restaurant was created with a commitment to meet all guests’ dietary needs, from typical dishes to extensive vegan options, gluten-free options, and more, and sources the cleanest, healthiest ingredients available.

We sat down with Chris Disney, managing partner, to talk food, health, and the “healthy hour.”

Why was the restaurant created?

Picazzo's was first opened in 2002 in Sedona when the owners saw a need for a unique, upscale pizza restaurant experience in the market.

What sets you apart from others?

Most people don’t associate “healthy” or gluten-free with Italian cuisine. However, at Picazzo’s, every item on the menu is gluten-free, with the exception of one pizza dough selection. We also cater to a wide variety of dietary needs and have a full vegan menu, while sourcing ingredients free of hormones, nitrates/nitrites, antibiotics, and pesticides. Our guests love that they can enjoy a meal out with family or friends, and everyone can get what they want—no matter what their dietary requirements are!

What are some of the menu highlights?

Our gluten-free pizza is a fan favorite. The elote pizza in particular is one of the most popular items. It must be something about that butter garlic sauce and spicy chipotle drizzle. Our lunch combo is a fun way to try a variety of our pizzas, salads, soups, and pasta dishes. And of course, our healthy hour is offered seven days a week and we offer half-price bottles of wine all day every Tuesday and Saturday. So many great options!

Some of the most popular dishes?

We sell a lot of our puttanesca pizza, spicy Thai peanut chicken pasta, chicken parmesan, and our vegan meetballs. A few of our new dishes that are already proving to be popular with guests are our whipped herb ricotta appetizer, served with toasted focaccia, and the adobo chicken, featuring Red Bird adobo marinated chicken thighs, an adobo butter baste, roasted jalapeño white bean purée, Fresno chiles, and micro greens.

Do you change your menu often?

We usually update our menu once or twice per year. Because we are so committed to sourcing the cleanest premium ingredients, we only launch new menu items once we’ve dialed in the right products that we know our guests will love. We put a lot of time and care into serving food that tastes great and meets our high standards. That said, we are excited to be launching several new items this month!

 

Why do you have a “healthy hour” rather than a “happy hour”?

Just because it’s happy hour doesn’t mean it has to be fried! Our guests love indulging in healthy hour items that taste delicious while keeping things clean. Some of our most popular “healthy hour” items include our baked wings and meatballs, and our gluten-free cheese bread … and of course, our creative selection of cocktails and mocktails.

Is there anything that is different about the Tempe location than any of your other locations?

Our Tempe restaurant is one of the locations that has a separate bar area where regulars can gather and enjoy cocktails with friends on some occasions or enjoy a meal in the dining area on others.

Anything people would be surprised to learn about Picazzo’s?

We are pioneers when it comes to our gluten-free and vegan menus. We actually started our gluten-free journey back in 2005 and began identifying and offering vegan options in 2015!

Picazzos.com

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer, try this easy make-ahead recipe.

 

Whipped Herb Ricotta

 

2 cups (250 grams) whole-milk ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon fine salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 Tablespoon chives, chopped

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried parsley, chopped

 

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a whisk until well incorporated.

 

Serve in a small bowl, with your favorite Italian crusty bread, and garnish with fresh cracked pepper, a pinch of chile flakes, parsley, olive oil, and chives … add hot honey for a sweeter heat!

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