Purchase is Part of Overall Expansion Plans for the Seattle-Based Pizza Concept
SEATTLE, WASH – February 24, 2021 – Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizza today announced its acquisition of local gnocchi maker Gnocchi Bar, a concept that was founded and developed by famed chef Lisa Nakamura. In addition to its presence in area specialty stores, Gnocchi Bar also is the long-time supplier of gnocchi to Tutta Bella, which has offered the handmade product on its menus since early 2018.
“Gnocchi Bar gnocchi is a true Seattle staple and Lisa is one of our city’s true artisans,” said Joe Fugere, Tutta Bella’s founder and CEO. “We’ve had a love story with Lisa and her products since we formed our partnership in 2017 and this was a decision that we made together as part of both of our future visions.”
“I’ve always been impressed by the way Tutta Bella puts quality and their guests first,” said Nakamura. “Gnocchi Bar has had a big place in my heart for a long time, so it was important for me to make sure it can live on, and I know it’s in good hands with Joe and his team.”
For Tutta Bella, the acquisition of Gnocchi Bar marks the next step in a strategic effort to expand the company’s product presence in grocery stores and through non-traditional distribution channels across the Puget Sound area and the greater Pacific Northwest.
“Over the past couple of years, there’s been a noticeable shift in consumer behavior, with many of our guests eating more and more of their meals inside their own home,” said Fugere. “It’s been even more evident during the pandemic and we’re working diligently to adjust and identify ways to reach guests beyond our restaurants.”
Tutta Bella currently offers a wide variety of grab n’ go items and take-home dinner options in 30+ QFC locations, including the Gnocchi Bar gnocchi and three recently launched take n’ bake pizza options.
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In addition, the company has a partnership with PCC Natural Markets to sell its branded canned tomatoes, and it recently partnered with Cedar Grove to offer a custom line of ready-to-eat items through their popular Sound Bites Delivers platform.
Following the news that the physical Gnocchi Bar restaurant on Capitol Hill was closing in late 2016, Nakamura announced that she would continue to make her beloved gnocchi for a select number of specialty stores around the city, and it eventually led to the potato goodness making its celebrated debut on restaurant menus at Tutta Bella in 2018.
“Lisa has a passion for her art and a commitment to creating a simple, beautiful and delicious product made with love, dedication and proper technique,” said Brian Gojdics, Tutta Bella executive chef, when the product first debuted. “When we tasted Lisa’s gnocchi, and saw her painstakingly rigorous methods, we knew this was absolutely the best gnocchi made here locally, and genuinely believe it would stack up to the finest gnocchi from anywhere in the world.”
To this day, each batch of gnocchi has continued to be handmade in Seattle, almost all by Nakamura herself, who is a classically trained chef with fine dining stints at The Herbfarm, Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry and later at her own restaurant, Allium on Orcas Island, where gnocchi was a top draw.
Tutta Bella will continue to make Gnocchi Bar gnocchi by hand, with its chefs going through an extensive Nakamura-led training that will ensure quality, consistency and flavor will remain the same.
About Tutta Bella
Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria shares the centuries-old traditions of Neapolitan cuisine, nourishing lives daily, with a welcoming service and handcrafted Italian fare. Tutta Bella’s menu features traditional Neapolitan, wood-fired pizza, Italian antipasti, classic pastas, salads, craft cocktails and more. Founded in 2004, Tutta Bella is the Northwest’s first Neapolitan pizzeria to be certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN). Tutta Bella uses the finest imported and locally sourced ingredients along with artisan traditions to bring the definitive Neapolitan culinary experience to guests. Tutta Bella has grown to five neighborhood restaurants in the greater Seattle area, a mobile food truck, and two in-store restaurants (“grocerant”) inside QFC groceries, located in Kirkland, WA. and the University District, Seattle.