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Chris Bianco took a risk during the pandemic — and it's paying off

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, November 1, 2021 - 11:31am
Updated: Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:49am

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Chris Bianco
Annika Cline/KJZZ
Arizona restaurateur Chris Bianco.

Chris Bianco is a name synonymous with pizza — and with Phoenix. One of the country’s most respected chefs, Bianco has been making what is widely recognized as some of the country’s best pizza in the Valley since he opened his flagship restaurant, Pizzeria Bianco, in 1987.

But it’s been a tough 18 months for Bianco. Like many restaurateurs, he’s had to get creative, pivot, cut back and rethink his operation on all fronts. From starting a national frozen pizza delivery service, to shifting around his restaurants in his various Phoenix locations, Bianco has tried it all throughout the pandemic. And largely, he’s come out on top.

The New York Times recently named his restaurant — the trattoria Tratto — one of the 50 places in America they’re most excited about right now. It’s welcome recognition for Bianco, who moved the fine dining restaurant to a new location mid-pandemic.

Now, its home is the historic Roland’s Market building just east of downtown Phoenix. It was an adaptive reuse project for Bianco, who tried a few different restaurant concepts in the space before moving Tratto there in the fall of 2020.

The Show spoke with Bianco to learn about the move, the recognition and why he thinks it’s important to save old things.

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