Crust Simply Italian: Authentic East Coast-style cooking

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Founded by Michael Merendino, a first-generation Italian who grew up on Long Island, Crust Simply Italian in Chandler, Arizona, spotlights an authentic East Coast-style of Italian cooking in a family-friendly setting.

Though it’ll be difficult to resist the pizza, we can assure you that you’ll want to take some time to sample Crust’s pastas and house specialties. A comfort food classic through and through, the chicken parmesan is delectable and filling. 

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.

“Food inspiration is honestly ‘mom and dad,’ since I grew up in my father’s pizzeria,” Chef Merendino said. “A lot of the menu items that I have are what my mom served us while growing up.”

The pizza they make at the restaurant is New York style, a large, 20-inch pie, so the oven is their heart. “We make sauce six days a week,” Chef Merendino said. “We grind our own cheese. We make our dough in-house. Everything we do is fresh.”

The ambiance at Crust is neighborhood meets comfortable, Italian eatery, so it’s perfect for families or great for a date night.

“Check, Please! Arizona” guest Jeannie LaMarche loves dining at Crust Simply Italian. “They are so welcoming, so friendly, that they welcome you just like family,” she said.  

LaMarche orders the bacon-wrapped shrimp and the linguine with clams in white sauce. “It was so awesome. The sauce it’s thick and creamy,” she said. “Every time I come there, I get that. I just can’t get enough of it.”

Guest Cathy Bonnell recommends the bruschetta, including mascarpone and fig, and the Chicken Marsala, which is her favorite Italian dish. Bonnell sums up her review with “I took half home for the next day.”

Post-pizza, a sweet treat is in order with fabulous favorites like ice cream-topped butter cake, cannoli and tiramisu.

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