Patch recently caught up with one of our most prominent small business owners to talk about his latest big news: Michael’s On Naples and Michael’s Pizzeria were named Zagat Guide 2013 best Italian restaurant, as well as best pizza, in Los Angeles, respectively.
In addition to these two honors, Michael’s On Naples made Zagat’s Top 10 list at number two for Best Dining Destinations in Los Angeles County. Michael’s On Naples opened about five years ago and is a dinner-only restaurant with live music Monday through Friday.
"I'm pretty excited we're able to achieve this in five short years," Michael Dene, owner of Michael's On Naples and Michael's Pizzeria, said this week.
With an old school grace, Dene can be found on any given night greeting arriving guests and gliding through the dining room, checking on tables. It is reassuring to know the owner is there at the fine dining restaurant on Naples Island.
Michael’s Pizzeria opened about 15 months ago and creates its pizzas in the traditional Napoli-style, where it is baked at 850 degrees for a minute and a half before served whole and unsliced. The pizzeria’s menu not only includes 14 different pizzas but also antipasti, salads, wine and craft beer, according to a press release.
Most of the food, including the sauces and pasta, are made on site and all of the ingrediants are organic and from local farmers. The restaurant also has a rooftop garden for fresh herbs, which is where it gets basil for pizzas, according to Dene.
Dene said the restaurant has seen a slight increase in customers since achieving the Zagat rating and it is seeing more customers from other parts of Southern California as well as loyal returning customers.
"We respect our customers," Dene said. "That's really what we're all about."
Dene said he hopes the Zagat rating will set a benchmark for all restaurants in Long Beach. He said he also hopes this achievement will raise awareness of Long Beach restaurants and all they offer.