Popular North Hills Restaurant Reopens Across The Street for Takeout and Catering
After a short hiatus, Wexford’s Bella Frutteto is back, offering its full menu and including gluten-free options.
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. A similar sentiment could be uttered about the popular Wexford restaurant Bella Frutteto, which means “beautiful orchard” in Italian.
When the 148-seat, Franklin Village eatery was forced to close on Oct. 14, 2022 due to staffing problems and skyrocketing costs, Owners Jeff and Sandy Rook decided to focus on their catering and takeout business. They needed a brick-and-mortar kitchen and found the perfect location at 2569 Brandt School Road — directly across the street from their old place.
The building was a Bruster’s Ice Cream location for nearly 40 years – the Rooks found a framed collage in the basement from the shop’s first day of business on Aug. 25, 1991, when it set a Guinness World Record for selling 3,081 cones in an hour.
On Nov. 23, 2022, fifteen years after they launched their culinary dream, Bella Frutetto’s new incarnation was born. The first customer was Randy Soergel of neighboring Soergel Orchards, who presented the couple with a crisp $2 bill.
Fans of Bella Frutetto’s food can still get all of their favorite menu items Monday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.
Order online and pick up, schedule a delivery through DoorDash or walk-up to the takeout window (ring the doorbell if no one is out front). Items include apple ravioli, seafood bake, sausage-stuffed chicken and chocolate peanut butter bombes, a chocolate cookie crust filled with peanut butter mousse and a chocolate peanut butter brownie topped with peanut butter ice cream.
For the first time since before the pandemic, Bella Frutetto will serve lunch daily from noon to 4 p.m. They’ve added sandwiches to the menu, from chicken salad on a brioche bun and Italian hoagies and steak paninis. Four different family meals that serve four people are available every Monday through Thursday by calling 724-940-7777. Options include chicken parmesan, meatball bake, balsamic chicken and manicotti alredo.
The restaurant is a destination for people with gluten allergies and other dietary restrictions. Executive Chef Kale “Chip” Elliott will work with patrons to make sure they leave satisfied. He once made a dish for a young girl who was allergic to nuts, dairy, soy and gluten, among other ingredients.
Naturally Soergel’s, an organic, natural, gluten-free and allergen-free food store, is located next door.
Sandy says the 12-member staff has perfected the art of making their takeout taste the same as their dine-in meals.
The kitchen is twice the size of their former one, giving them more room to fill catering orders, but it’s taking some time to get used to the new space.
“It’s like entertaining at someone else’s home,” Jeff says with a laugh. “You don’t know where anything is. But we’re finally finding our groove.”
The gregarious Sandy, who spent 25 years as an Eat ‘n Park waitress, says she misses chatting with people at the restaurant but is looking forward to warm weather when they will put tables outside and she can mingle.
The staff is gearing up to offer Valentine’s Day and Lent specials, including the return of crab cakes and fish sandwiches. Jeff says they also hope to cater private dinners at people’s homes.
After several years of pandemic-related stress, the Rooks are finally breathing a sigh of relief and are thankful (to their core) for the community support that has enabled them to keep growing.