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The GRID: Crust Simply Italian to open doors in downtown Mesa

Photo of Crust Simply Italian dish
Michael Merendino, Crust owner, and a first-generation American whose parents both originate from Italy, serves up Italian food like he would for his own family, representatives of the brand say. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)

Crust Simply Italian to become part of The GRID in Mesa

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Crust Simply Italian, a growing East Coast Italian food and drink concept will open in downtown Mesa in the fall of 2023.

The restaurant will be located on Main Street, in a new commercial and residential complex, The GRID, according to a press release.

“The GRID will offer a unique blend of opportunities for residents and retailers,” said Nancy Hormann, president of the Downtown Mesa Association. “A unique living and working space with sprawling ground floor eateries, Crust’s authentic Italian-American fare will be a welcomed addition amongst downtown’s diverse restaurant concepts.”

Michael Merendino, Crust owner, and a first-generation American whose parents both originate from Italy, serves up Italian food like he would for his own family, representatives of the brand say.

After growing up in his father’s pizzeria on Long Island, N.Y., Mr. Merendino wanted to bring an authentic East Coast Italian eatery to Arizona that was reminiscent of the Italian-American comfort food restaurants he loved in N.Y. Crust Simply Italian is home to authentic pasta dishes, Italian-style rustica-shaped pizzas and refreshing craft cocktails.

Crust started in 2007 in Scottsdale with additional locations in Chandler and Gilbert.

“We are thrilled to open our fourth Crust concept in Downtown Mesa,” Mr. Merendino said in a prepared statement. “Within this growing and thriving educational, business and residential community, we look forward to welcoming families and friends to our restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal in a fun, friendly and inviting atmosphere.”

Alongside Crust Simply Italian’s Mesa location, a new speakeasy-style cocktail lounge and bar is set to open. Sticking with the Birds of a Feather theme — the team’s other cocktail concepts include The Blue Heron and The Ostrich — there will be a naming contest announced on social media @birdsofafeatherbar_mesa to invite community members to submit their favorite ideas to name the new concept and win an invite to the friends and family opening and $100 gift card.

“The GRID is thrilled to bring Crust restaurants to downtown Mesa,” said Tony Wall, partner of Palladium Enterprises. “Michael Merendino and his team are seasoned and successful restaurant owners and operators. I have known Michael and have eaten in his restaurants for 15 years. His team is full of skilled and experienced professionals who are more importantly, really good people. The mix with our Downtown culture should be extremely positive.”

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