Stella was born in Rome when owner Lori Burson was a sophomore in college studying abroad. While there she spent a semester falling in love with Italian food and wine, and more importantly, the way the Italian people focused their lives around food. Rather than simply eat a hurried meal, Italian people gather with friends and family, and every meal is a celebration. Lori decided then that she wanted to bring that philosophy back home and embody it in her own restaurant.
After spending nearly 20 years in the food service business, Lori opened Stella on April 22, 2010. Stella was always supposed to be a neighborhood restaurant, and in keeping with that idea, Lori chose a location on the edge of her own Heritage Hills neighborhood so that she can live and work around friends and family. The atmosphere reflects that neighborhood feel. Guests enjoy fine dining quality food and service in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.
Lori likes to say that Stella offers everything from elegant dining to wine and pizza on game night, or as she puts it, “You’ll be comfortable here in cargo shorts or a tuxedo.” Creating just the right experience for every guest is central to Stella’s identity, but it isn’t just about a relaxed atmosphere. The staff at Stella is serious about serving the needs of the customer. Lori has a simple philosophy about customer service: “The answer is yes. What’s the question?”
The wood-fired brick oven is the centerpiece of Stella. Sit at the bar and watch the flames cook delicious cracker-thin pizzas and enjoy custom, seasonal cocktails, traditional favorites, local and imported beers, or do what Lori does: choose a glass or bottle of wine from Stella’s outstanding list of American and Italian wines.