Pizzaiola Nella Grassano, who opened both Spacca Napoli and Nella Pizzeria Napoletana, and her husband Franco now plan to open their own restaurant, Pizzeria da Bella Cucina Napoletana, in the former Tsuki space at 1443 W. Fullerton. Grassano was a central figure in the explosion of Neapolitan-style pizza in Chicago that started with the opening of Spacca Napoli in 2006, a third-generation pizza-maker who got her start in her father’s restaurant in Lecca near Milan as a child.
Spacca Napoli owner Jonathan Goldsmith brought her in to make pizzas and train the staff at his restaurant, which started a boom in more or less authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas here. But after about a year, she left Spacca Napoli. She resurfaced in late 2009 as a partner with Scott Harris in Nella Pizzeria Napoletana, which opened in Lincoln Park with plans to open a second restaurant on Taylor Street, but by May 2010 she was out again, leaving behind a handbuilt oven made with imported volcanic ash clay by artisans brought over from Naples. According to Dish, the Grassanos plan to build the same kind of oven in their new location, and hope to open just in time for Christmas with a menu of 20 to 25 pizzas and a dozen pastas, plus an outdoor patio. [Dish]