crust chandler mussels

Restaurant of the Week: Crust Simply Italian Chandler

Founded by Michael Merendino, a first-generation Italian who grew up on Long Island, Crust Simply Italian Chandler spotlights an authentic East Coast-style of Italian cooking in a family-friendly setting. While pizza is the cornerstone of the restaurant, its incredible house specialties, classic desserts and gorgeous patio show that there is more to Crust than meets the pie.

The expansive indoor-outdoor bar is the centerpiece of the space, with large flat-screens for watching a game. The remainder of the indoor space is decked with cozy, tufted booths, wallpaper-adorned corners and industrial-inspired lighting, while the patio is quite spacious, with built-in heaters and booths.

As welcoming as the restaurant is, it is the staff that makes each guest feel like family. And the comforting eats even up the familial factor. A great place to start is with the crowd-pleasing meatballs, paired with marinara, shaved parmesan and garlic bread points, and fried calamari, topped with spicy pickled peppers.

Though it’ll be hard not to head straight to the ‘za, we promise you’ll want to spend some time checking out Crust’s pastas and house specialties. The chicken parmesan is delicious and hearty, a comfort food staple through and through. Buttery and decadent, the chicken Francese, paired with linguine, is one of the tastiest chicken dishes we’ve had in recent memory.

If you’re craving pasta but in search of something a little different, the tortellini alla panna is just the thing. The heaping plate of cream-based tortellini is spruced up with peas, prosciutto and mushroom (kids will love this!).

As its name implies, pizza is a big deal at Crust–and our favorite is the unique Long Island Special. Ricotta, fresh mozzarella, cracked black pepper and a hearty drizzle of honey come together in each sweet and creamy slice. And you’re sure to notice the unique shape of Crust’s pizza; it is modeled after the shape of a wine bottle.

Post-pizza, a sweet treat is in order. Ice cream-topped butter cake, cannoli and tiramisu are all timeless favorites and done beautifully at Crust. And the youngest diners will get a kick out of the “spaghetti” ice cream, with “noodles” of vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce “marinara” and chocolate chip “meatballs.”

Crust also serves a selection of wines by the bottle and glass and a variety of cocktails. (PS: If you like to imbibe, The Ostrich craft cocktail lounge is located in the basement of Crust Chandler!)

On your way out, don’t miss the small market display near the door, chock-full of grab-and-go items. Here, all of the makings of a Crust meal can be purchased and served or cooked at home, like pizza dough, meatballs and tiramisu.

To learn more about Crust Simply Italian Chandler, visit crustrestaurants.com.

10 N. San Marcos Pl.
Chandler, AZ 85225

Photo credit: Jacqueline Hanna Photography

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