BURRILLVILLE – They’re known for their care and attention to detail, along with high-quality Italian cuisine many say is on par with some of the best restaurants in the state, if not all of New England.
Bella Restaurant is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, an accomplishment recognized with a citation this month from members of the Burrillville Town Council.
Opened in 1998, the family-owned restaurant offers both fine dining and banquet facilities from a 8,446- square-foot space on Victory Highway.
“Bella is known for delivering an unsurpassed quality of cuisine and providing guests with exceptional service,” notes the proclamation, presented to restauranteur Giuseppe Calapai; along with his son Chef and owner Giovan Calapai; and banquet coordinator and office manager Sarah Calapai on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
While known for providing a quality dining experience to guests in northern Rhode Island, the Bella story began in Messina, Italy, where family patriarch Giuseppe was born. It was a love of food and desire to see the world that led a young Giuseppe to a job on the Italian cruise line, “The Oceanic,” where he would spend ten years, before making his home in Rhode Island according to a blog on the business’s origins.
Giuseppe opened his first restaurant on Federal Hill, The Blue Grotto, in the early 1980s, then continued on to open “Gustaves” at the Valley Country Club in West Warwick; “Gio’s Pasta & Grill,” in Coventry; and finally, “Bella Restaurant” in Burrillville.
It is Bella where the Calapais have focused their talents for the past several years, with the father/son/daughter team bringing nearly four decades of experience to the business. The menu features Italian classics, including parmigiana, pizzas, steaks and seafood dishes, and also boasts an ever-changing list of unique chef’s specials, like the grilled pork chop zingabella, finished in garlic, mushroom, caramelized onion and trio of peppers savory tomato demi, and served with hand cut fries and asparagus.
In addition to a main dining room, bar and banquet facilities, the restaurant also features a patio – lit with twinkling lights for outdoor summer dining.
“Since opening their doors in 1998, Bella Restaurant has quickly become one of Rhode Island’s favorite family-owned Italian restaurants and popular banquet facilities,” noted the council proclamation. “At Bella they understand the importance of a warm reception, the personal touch, and take special pride in their ability to provide a five-star dining experience in a warm and relaxed setting.”
Council President Donald Fox, who read the proclamation, is among many frequent guests to the facility.
“They believe in paying special attention to every detail of your extraordinary dining experience; whether it will be served to a table of two or a wedding party of two hundred, is prepared with as much care and attention to detail as if they were attending to their own family,” Fox read at the meeting.
Also known for support of the community, Bella, he noted, has hosted many fundraisers over the years, and offered sponsorships and discounts to various local organizations.
Councilors unanimously passed the proclamation, accepted by the family members with a simple, “thank you,” from Giuseppe.
“The Calapai family is a valuable part of the Burrillville family,” it read. “We, the Town Council wish Giuseppe, Giovan and Sarah Calapai and their family well and for them to enjoy continued success.”
Located at 1992 Victory Highway, Bella Restaurant is open for dinner Thursday through Saturday starting at 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. For reservations call (401) 568-6996.
Editor’s note: Publisher Sandy Hall previously worked as a server at Bella Restaurant.