February 28, 2014

AZ Business Magazine

La Bocca Opens North Phoenix Location

La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine Bar added another location last month to north Phoenix, where the restaurant offers a smaller, more intimate experience than its Mill Avenue location in Tempe.

Julian Wright of Fork & Dagger, a bar and restaurant development company, opened the north Phoenix location to tap into a market that is saturated with chain restaurants.

La Bocca offers a wine list with 100 choices stored in an on-site wine cellar. Mark Pope, who

Mediterranean Plate.
Mediterranean Plate.

worked the wine program at Boulders Resort in Carefree in the early 2000s, prepared the wine list at the new location. Pope and Wright trained the servers so that they could expertly suggest a wine from their eclectic list for whatever mood a customer is in. Pope is on the floor, too, making himself available to help out customers with their wine choices.

“What’s unique,” Wright said. “Is we’ve relied less on name brands and went with high quality wines.”

In order to make the wine really pop out there, La Bocca also uses Riedel Glassware for the wine, they make sure that the customer is given the right type of glass for the right type of wine.

“I learned the glass really makes the difference,” Wright said.

Sangria Blanco
Sangria Blanco

The expanded wine list and perfect glass isn’t the only thing different at the new La Bocca, the North Phoenix location looks different too, with a more rustic look and black and white photos emulating European fashion from the ’60s hanging on the walls.

The place is a throwback to the past, Wright says, along with the different interior the north location has an outdoor community patio with a fireplace.

“The place in general has a more sophisticated feel,” Wright said.

La Bocca in north Phoenix is going to be as linked with the local community as the Mill Avenue

location. Wright says that they’re outreaching to the local community and doing charity events with schools, too.

And the community is embracing La Bocca. Wright says it’s becoming the spot where neighbors bump into neighbors as cheers of greetings come from the customers as more fellow customers come on in through the door.

“A lot of them thank us for opening,” Wright said. “They like the new independent place in the area.”