A popular pizza and gelato shop that closed last year has been replaced by a, well, pizza and gelato shop.
The owner, Cleveland Heights resident Marc-Auréle Buholzer, worked for in the Cedar Fairmount Business District off and on for many years. The experience inspired him to create his own store, and he .
“The community loved this place,” he said.
But he says he offers something a little different.
The restaurant, , which means true or real in Italian, will stay open year-round, all the time. Buholzer, 28, has redecorated the interior to look more like a café or bistro and added more tables. He covered the light blue walls with olive and rust tones. He also serves a specific type of pizza — Napolitano.
“I’m excited for everyone to be able to experience the great pizza, the good gelato, and have another place to try,” Buholzer said.
He explained what makes Napolitano pizza special — the San Marzano tomatoes, the thin, light crust. He serves traditional pepperoni and margherita pizzas but also features modern toppings like truffle oil and arugula. The pies are cooked in a wood-burning oven in 900-degree heat — it takes just 90 seconds to three minutes.
And then there’s the gelato. Buholzer features a variety of flavors including hazelnut, banana, chocolate, peanut butter, lemon and pistachio. The traditional flavors are offered consistently, and he rotates about a half dozen others.
He knows there are risks in opening a new business, but he has confidence he’ll succeed because of the support local merchants receive in the city.
“When you look at Cleveland Heights, it is all locally-owned, independent businesses," he said. "It’s a gamble to open an independent business, but I couldn’t say that it’s much of a gamble in Cleveland Heights."
Buholzer, who has been working in restaurants off and on since he was 16 years old, plans to hire about 10 people. His dad and girlfriend are helping him, too.
"I'm not Italian, I just have a personal interest in pizza. I've always had a close relationship around food. I grew up in a European family and that was always something really important."
Vero Bistro. 12421 Cedar Road, 216-229-8383, www.verocleveland.com. Open Mon. - Thurs. & Sun. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Fri.- Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Prices: $8 to $12 for pizza, $3 and up for gelato.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published May 3, 2012, and has been updated.