New Italian restaurant to replace Joe’s Pizza II at Emmaüs

A longtime pizza and pasta destination will continue to offer Italian staples under a new name in Lehigh County.

Bella Pizza, which has operated for three years at 21 E. Main St. in Richland, Lebanon County, plans to open a second location, Bella Pizza 2, next week at 578 Chestnut St. in Emmaus.

The tentative opening date is Wednesday, owner Michele D’Agostino said.

The Emmaus spot has been home to Joe’s Pizza II and an Italian restaurant since 2007, but Joe’s recently announced that its last day of operation at Emmaus will be Sunday.

“Our family has come to the conclusion that this is best for our family,” reads the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Thank you to the Emmaus community for the best 15 years! We couldn’t have done this without your love and support.

Early next week, D’Agostino and his team are looking to complete a host of renovations, including new lighting, wall paint, drop ceiling and kitchen equipment.

“We will be installing a lot of new elements and working around the clock for three days in a row, even at night,” D’Agostino said.

D’Agostino has decades of experience in the restaurant industry, including operating other Lehigh Valley restaurants like Mama’s Italian Grill locations in Breinigsville and Walnutport with his brother-in-law, Giuseppe Di Fiore.

The Di Fiore family – Giueseppe, his wife, Palmira, and their children – Antonella, Lidia and Mario – continue to operate the Fiorentina Grill in Breinigsville.

“My family and I have so many years in the restaurant business,” D’Agostino said. “I’m 45, starting in Brooklyn, NY, before moving to the Lehigh Valley in 1985. Our first pizza place was Mama’s Italian Grill in Walnutport. Then we had other restaurants in Slatington, Coplay and Breinigsville.

At Bella Pizza 2, which will be open daily for lunch and dinner, customers can expect the same menu offered at the original Bella Pizza, D’Agostino said.

Menu highlights include appetizers such as buffalo calamari, fried zucchini, Italian rice balls and mini cheesesteak spring rolls; pasta dishes such as gnocchi sorrento, linguine with white clam sauce, lobster ravioli and spaghetti carbonara; salads such as Greek Avocado, Apple Harvest, Cajun Shrimp and Strawberry Spinach; and starters like chicken picatta, mussels marinara, langoustines with prawns and veal Francese.

Gourmet pizzas, available in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes, include varieties such as baked ziti, bacon fries, bruschetta, pierogie, chicken florentine, Italian taco, and shrimp fra diavolo . Gluten-free, Sicilian and grandma’s pizzas are also available.

Other menu items include burgers, hot and cold subs, paninis, club sandwiches, wraps, stromboli, calzones, quesadillas, burgers, and desserts like gelato, tiramisu, and zeppoli .

“Our goal is to provide you with the best experience possible in the hope that you and your family will return again and again,” reads a message on Bella Pizza’s website. “At Bella Pizza, quality and service can also be experienced through our catering department. We have a proven track record in catered receptions, wedding receptions, birthdays, corporate events, retirement luncheons, awards ceremonies and many other events of all kinds.

Bella Pizza 2 will occupy a renovated space that housed Joe’s Pizza II for 15 years.

Owner Joe Amato opened the Emmaus restaurant in 2007 following the success of the original Joe’s Pizza, which debuted on Hamilton Boulevard in Trexlertown in 1992.

A third location, Joe’s Pizza III, opened in 2009 on Tilghman Street in Upper Macungie Township, but that location closed a few years ago.

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