Spinato's Pizzeria is coming to Ahwatukee Foothills early next year and will be offering residents a chance to dig in to a slice of Chicago-style pizza.

Spinato's is a family owned and operated business that has been in the Valley since 1974. The pizzeria currently has four locations: in north Phoenix, 1614 E. Bell Road; central Phoenix, 1219 E. Glendale Ave.; Tempe, 227 S. Smith Road; and Scottsdale, 11108 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. The Ahwatukee location is set to become the fifth in 2011.

Madison Roman, director of marketing at Spinato's, said the area surrounding the new location will offer a good community-oriented feel for the new pizzeria.

"It's a growing area," she said. "It's very community oriented."

The new location will be at 4848 E. Chandler Blvd. in the parking lot next to Waffle House, and is expected to open around the middle of February. Roman said the new facility will be the largest yet, but will still offer that family restaurant feel that they are known for.

"They're not just walking into a chain restaurant," she said.

Spinato's will offer pizza, including traditional thin crust and gluten-free options, as well as pasta, Chicago-style sandwiches, antipasto and beer. Roman said right now Spinato's is working on a few new sauce recipes.

The business was created through the hard work of Ken and Elaine Spinato, who moved to Phoenix in 1974 with their then-1-year-old daughter, Nicole, after deciding that the Chicago wind and cold was not for them anymore. A year later, the Spinato's son, Anthony, was born, and Ken's parents moved to Phoenix to help make the dreams of a family business become a reality.

Today, Roman said the Spinato family is still involved and can often be found at one of their four restaurants. She said that usually on Friday nights Ken likes to go to every location to check in and see how customers like their food.

"The family is very involved in the restaurant," Roman said. "Everyone has their own part."

She added that the Spinato family prides themselves in making each and every customer feel like they're walking into their home for a family meal.

"They're really great people," Roman said.

To learn more about Spinato's Pizzeria, check out their website at www.spinatospizza.com.

Chelsea Brown is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.

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