Vero Amore — the casual pizza restaurant on Tucson's East side — has a new Northwest location at Dove Mountain Boulevard and Tangerine Road that has expanded on the original location in terms of space and menu items.
Owned by brothers Josh and Aric Mussman, Vero Amore bills itself as serving "authentic Neapolitan pizza with a casual, upscale ambiance." To be sure they uphold the highest standards — the brothers had their pizzeria certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana, an international trade association founded in 1984 in Naples, Italy to promote the culinary tradition of the Neapolitan pizza.
Vero Amore is the only VPN-certified pizzeria in Arizona, and one of only 17 in the United States and 270 in the world.
"VPN has very strict guidelines you must adhere to," said Josh Mussman. "You have to use a wood-fired oven, and type 00 flour, which is very soft and has a very fine, low-gluten count. We also must make our mozzarella cheese by hand every day, use San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy, and have pizza marinara, pizza margherita and calzones on the menu."
The restaurant's name — Italian for 'true love' — refers to the desire of the brothers to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant using the freshest ingredients to create authentic foods.
"Vero Amore is truly a labor of love for us," Josh Mussman said. "Quality is very important, and we also want to be known for our affordable prices, and casual but elegant atmosphere."
Vero Amore's Dove Mountain Boulevard location can seat about 108 people in its dining room, bar and patio areas, about double the size of its North Swan Road restaurant.
The brothers have been in the food industry for a combined 15 years, with Josh starting nine years ago.
"I've done every job in the restaurant industry, and food's always been a passion with me," he said. "I've always been a back of the house guy, while Aric is more of the front of the house."
Aric Mussman uses his extensive sommelier training expertise, his brother noted, complementing menu items with the best wines from small family vineyards.
"With our new location, we expanded the menu quite a bit and also brought on a pasta chef," Josh Mussman said. "So now you can get dishes like Mediterranean pasta, baked linguini marinara, ravioli Aumentare, fettuccini Alfredo and shrimp fra diavolo."
On the pizza side of the menu, in addition to the VPN-required items, Vero Amore also makes pizza Capricciosa (with artichokes, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella and Prosciutto), Formaggi (gorgonzola, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses), Passione (chopped tomato, smoked salmon, arugula and mascarpone cheese), and Ruspante (chicken sausage, bell peppers and mozzarella).
"Food and wine are a large part of life in Italy," Mussman said. "We wanted to be sure we were making a premium product that tastes the same no matter where you got it, which is why we earned the VPN certification. And we want Vero Amore to be a neighborhood place with affordable prices and friendly, competent service."
12130 N. Dove Mountain Blvd., #104
Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.