When Eric and Michelle Jurisin, owners of The Haunted Hamburger and Grapes in Jerome and The Tavern Grille and Nic’s Italian Steak & Crab in Cottonwood, opened Pizzeria Bocce in Old Town Cottonwood this summer, we dined there twice in one week. Not only are we hooked on the Napoli-style pizza, fresh salads and wine on tap, the atmosphere reminds us of the chic eateries in Scottsdale and Denver. The modern interior features wood floors, blackboards on the walls and exposed light blubs, but we’re really excited about the exterior. Bocce’s patio has comfy couches and benches surrounding a huge fire pit, an indoor-outdoor bar, stone pillars topped with cauldrons of fire and, aptly, a bocce ball court.
The menu, created by Chef Michelle Jurisin, who became certified in the art of pizza by Verace Pizza Napoletana in Naples, Italy, features appetizers, salads, pizza and paninis. During our most recent visit, four of us split two salads and two pizzas (all pies are about 12 inches). The Fork & Knife Caesar is one of the best Caesar salads we’ve ever had – make sure you request anchovies for a truly Italian experience.
As for the pizza pies, each one is made with Caputo flour imported from Italy and baked in a wood-burning stove. Our favorites include the Americano with tomato sauce, pepperoni, hand-stretched mozzarella and fresh basil. The pepperoni is slightly spicy while the basil adds a hint of sweetness. We also enjoy the Funghi, which is topped with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, chives, sautéed mushrooms, fontina and goat cheeses, and truffle oil. You can also craft your own pizza, and gluten-free crust is available upon request.
Bocce’s drink menu features creative signature cocktails and more than 10 draft beers. The wine list includes everything from Arizona Stronghold’s Dayden rose on tap to wines from Italy and California. Grab some friends and enjoy a drink outdoors before sitting down to dinner. This is the dining experience Verde Valley foodies have been waiting for. – Erika Ayn Finch. Photograph by Deb Weinkauff.