On Saturday, world-famous pizzaiolo Chris Bianco did something he's never done before: He closed a restaurant. Just over two years after opening his third Pizzeria Bianco in Tucson, Bianco decided to close the downtown eatery, citing issues with the restaurant's location.
"The fit wasn't right," Bianco says, adding, "We've been actively looking for a new space in Tucson."
Bianco says he negotiated an early exit from the lease for the restaurant at 272 East Congress Street with the building's landlord. He'd originally hoped to find a new location for Pizzeria Bianco Tucson over the summer, which would have allowed for a seamless transition from one space to the next, but has so far been unable to find a new home. The chef says he's now considering building a new location from the ground up.
"We want to control our destiny a little bit," Bianco says.
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The restaurant isn't the only one to pull out of Tucson's downtown area recently. Proper, a locally focused dining spot from restaurateur Paul Moir, also closed its doors on Congress Street in July. The closures come not long after Tucson's dining scene surged into the national spotlight thanks to a story from the New York Times calling the city an "unlikely food star."
Bianco says he will continue to offer Pizzeria Bianco catering in Tucson with the restaurant's mobile wood-fired oven. The chef also operates two Pizzeria Bianco locations in Phoenix, Pane Bianco, Bar Bianco, and Tratto, the chef's recently opened upscale dining spot at Town & Country in Phoenix.
For more information, check the Pizzeria Bianco website.