When Chris Bianco started the diminutive Pizzeria Bianco inside the back corner of a neighborhood grocery store, little did he know that he would be such a driving force in the slow food movement and specifically the artisanal pizza front.
Chris, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2003, helped spawn a generation of independent and artisanal pizzeria’s, lending his advice, wisdom and food philosophies to dozens of fellow chefs and restaurateurs. For years, it has been a common sight to find lines forming at the Pizzeria early in the afternoon, with foodies from all over and locals alike queuing up in anticipation of getting a table and enjoying what has been called the best pizza in America.
In 2005, Chris opened Pane Bianco, about four miles from the Pizzeria. Pane featurs split foccacia sandwiches and other baked goods including Bianco’s signature pizza al taglio. Pane Bianco has been voted best sandwich in Phoenix on several occasions.
There are currently 3 Pizzeria Bianco’s in Arizona, including two in Phoenix and one in Tucson.
As for the pizza — critics, customers and fellow chefs have had their say over the years, including:
In 2013 & 2014, Pizzeria Bianco was nominated for a James Beard Award in the Outstanding Restaurant category.
Thrillist listed Pizzeria Bianco #1 for Arizona in its best of America by state.
In 1013, Zagat named Chris as 1 of 6 chefs who changed pizza during the last 100+ years.
CBSNEWS listed Pizzeria Bianco #3 on their list of 101 best pizzerias in 2013.
The New York Times call the pizza “perhaps the best in America” (“The Road to Pizza Nirvana goes through Phoenix”, NYT, July 2004.)
Pizzeria Bianco earned a rating of 29 (out of 30) in 2003; a score which is virtually unattainable and unheard of for pizzerias.
Rachael Ray declared Pizzeria Bianco the winner of her Pizza Madness Bracket, a contest of pizzerias across the nation. (Every Day With Rachael Ray, March, 2010)
Food & Wine has labeled Chris’ pizza as “arguably the best pizza in America” (June 2005, June 2009).
In the culmination of a seven year project, Chris joined with third generation canner Rob DiNapoli to create a line of organic whole peeled tomatoes. Bianco DiNapoli Tomatoes are organically grown and harvested on Cliff Fong's family farm in Yolo County, California. Long summer days and fertile soil produce these very unique & delicious tomatoes. Within hours of harvest, our plum-shaped tomatoes are washed, steam-peeled and hand selected at the Olam tomato cannery in Williams, CA. Each can is packed with a touch of sea salt, organic basil then topped in its own juices.
Chris also supports many local and national charities, providing support to many worthy causes. He has supported Alex’s Lemonade Stand for many years, started by a young girl named Alex, who was battling her own cancer and yet wanted to raise money to find a cure so that other children wouldn’t have to suffer.