Crust Restaurant Group to open new Simply Italian in Mesa, add lounge in Scottsdale

Jan 16, 2024, 10:00 AM

PHOENIX — The Valley’s Crust Restaurant Group is planning to expand this year with new ventures in Mesa and Scottsdale.

A fourth Crust Simply Italian restaurant will be located at The Grid on Main Street, two blocks west of the Mesa Arts Center.

The 8,000-square-foot restaurant with a 2,000-square-foot patio will be the chain’s largest. The project will include an attached speakeasy-style cocktail lounge called The Nightingale, plus a gelato and donut shop called Bombolino. No opening date has been set.

Meanwhile, The Goose speakeasy is expected to open some time in early 2024 next to the original Crust Simply Italian location on Hayden Road north of Via de Ventura in Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch neighborhood.

How large is the Valley’s Crust Restaurant Group?

The four new venues will increase Crust Restaurant Group’s footprint to 11 locations. The group also is looking to launch concepts outside the Italian food sphere in the West Valley.

“Since opening the first Crust restaurant in 2007, we’ve learned so much over the years, and as we’ve grown, I’ve had a goal to open 10 locations,” Michael Merendino, Crust Restaurant Group founder and owner, said in a press release. “Things have changed and moved quickly over the last few months, and we’re excited for what this first quarter will bring.”

Of the three Crust Simply Italian restaurants, the Scottsdale location is the only one that doesn’t yet have an adjoining speakeasy. Keeping with an avian theme, the Chandler cocktail lounge is called The Ostrich, and the Gilbert version is The Blue Heron.

In the fall of 2023, the company debuted a new concept called Crust Pizzeria at two former Artichoke Basille’s Pizza locations, on Baseline Road east of Rural Road in Tempe and on 16th Street north of Bethany Home Road in Phoenix.

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Crust Restaurant Group to open new Simply Italian in Mesa, add lounge in Scottsdale