Bella’s Restaurant aims to recreate authentic Roman-Italian experience in Short Pump

Charlottesville-based Bella’s goes the extra mile to deliver authentic Roman-Italian food cuisine and ambience with their second location, in the Far West End.

A second Charlottesville restaurant in as many weeks has opened its doors in the Richmond area.

Bella’s Restaurant opened for dinner service on June 29th at 11408 West Broad Street (in the Short Pump Plaza Shopping Center near Peter Chang’s China Café).

Bella’s Restaurant is the vision of Valeria Bisenti, an Italian-American who arrived in the United States from her native city of Rome at the age of 21. Bisenti aimed to create what she calls a welcoming family atmosphere similar to those she grew up with in her hometown.

The restaurant features an authentic Roman-Italian menu, served up family style.

“[I’m] the hostess at the door greeting the patrons as they come in, just like they do in Rome,” said Bisenti. “The atmosphere [is] like my favorite restaurants in the castles outside Rome. The inside [is] very warm and welcoming.”

Bisenti says the menu is heavily inspired by her mother Lucia, and her many dining experiences in Rome.

“We serve fresh pasta, chicken, veal and fish platters,” she says of the menu. “Diners can order specialties like homemade pasta, porchetta, and prosciutto or go a little bit more Italian-American with lasagna, chicken parmesan and veal marsala.”

Bella’s also features an array of appetizers, a daily special entrée and offers a create-your-own pasta dish as well.

Bisenti says her team aims for authenticity in every capacity possible, even going so far as to hire a five-star Italian consultant to train staff on traditional Italian serving characteristics and techniques.

Her husband, Douglas Muir, is an experienced restaurateur himself. Muir started and later sold Charlottesville’s Wild Wing Café, the first franchised Wild Wing location in the nation.

“We’ve created an atmosphere where the customer always knows they will get the best of everything, just like at Mamma’s house in Rome,” Muir said of Bella’s.

“We want customers to leave our restaurant with a full belly and a tab that they can afford. Our goal is for the customers to enjoy an experience that they will never forget.”

Photo: Bella’s Restaurant

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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