It’s been 15 years since we had the divine pleasure of taking a trip to Rome, and present day, many people are hesitant to venture out, let alone book an international vacation to a destination hit hard by the COVID pandemic. So perhaps, it was somehow serendipitous that amidst the uncertainty for so many restaurants, Stellina Pizza, the newest addition from Blue Star Group, opens it’s doors in Colorado Springs.

“It’s Italian with intentionality,” says Will Merwin, chef consultant for Blue Star Group. “It means integrity of the ingredients, awareness of the technique.”

Merwin, alongside Joseph Coleman, owner of Blue Star Group, found inspiration for the rustic, rectangular pizza during a trek to Italy during the fall of 2019, where the two food aficionados wound up “falling in love with it’s really lovely, airy, but crispy crust,” says Sarah Mishler, chief brand & strategy operator for Blue Star Group.

No pie tossing here as “it’s hip to be a square.”

And voila, they ended up bringing home their very own cerebral souvenir– “authentic Italian food, not just Americanized Italian,” to readily share with their community.

Not entirely sure what differentiates Roman-style pizza from the rest? Well, watch our segment on The Modern Eater right here (48:23-1:15) where we sit down with Mishler to discuss Stellina’s concept and chat more in-depth with chef Merwin about the baking process, the ingredients and to highlight the local purveyors partnering with Stellina. During our clip, he even makes us our favorite pie yet, the Dar Poeta, with Rome’s artisanal spicy Italian sausage, thinly sliced zucchini and an immaculate blend of mozzarella & Parmigiano Reggiano aged for 24-months.

“I really think it’s the intentionality around the ingredients so that they can perform in the spotlight where they’re meant to be,” reaffirms Merwin. “We’re not doing anything new or revolutionary, we’re just doing things correctly as we experienced them in Italy, and what we carried back.”

*All images courtesy of Shannon Derbique Photography