14 November, 2019, 03:20

10 fun facts to celebrate Bottega Michelangelo’s 30th anniversary

They're turning 30 and serving up free tiramisu.

Italian restaurant Bottega Michelangelo, owned by Giuseppe “Gio” Ali, has been in operation for three decades.

With an interesting start and revamp of their space in recent years, they’re celebrating in style on Saturday, May 25 and offering a free dessert to those that join the party.

To help commemorate Bottega’s milestone, here are some fun facts for your reading pleasure:

1. The Italian restaurant was originally a plant nursery called Bountiful Nursery.

2. New look, new name.

The restaurant updated their name and look in October 2017, changing their name from Michelangelo Ristorante Italiano to Bottega (studio of a famous artist) Michelangelo.

Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

3. Founders Damiano and Assunta Ali moved from Nardodipace, Italy to Tucson in 1965.

4. Their first restaurant served Italian cuisine in Tucson.

The restaurant, Damiano’s, was located on North Stone Avenue and West Drachman Street.

Damiano's (Photo courtesy of Bottega Michelangelo)

Damiano’s (Photo courtesy of Bottega Michelangelo)

5. Bottega family members had a brief stint studying abroad.

Vincenzo is the head chef and studied briefly in Milan, Italy. Franco did a three-month apprenticeship in Sierra San Bruno, Italy to learn how to make all of their house-made desserts.

Gio settled in Tucson but graduated from the University of Arizona (go Wildcats!) with a degree in Accounting.

6. They are a family of restaurateurs.

The owners’ cousins own Trattoria Pina on North Swan, Truland Burgers & Greens on North Oracle, Graze Premium Burgers, and Choice Greens on East Speedway in Tucson. Yet another owns Enoteca Adriano in Pacific Beach, San Diego.

Burger, fries, and milkshake at Graze Premium Burgers (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Burger, fries, and milkshake at Graze Premium Burgers (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

7. Their uncle also owned Da Vinci’s Restaurant on Ft. Lowell.

8. Bottega Michelangelo specializes in Southern Italian comfort food.

The cuisine boasts dishes with red sauce, spice, and less focus on cream. In addition, their desserts are made in house and will tempt you upon entering.

Porchetta at Bottega Michelangelo will be available during the "Dine with 92.9" fundraiser (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Porchetta at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

9. The restaurant design received first place in the 2018 ASID Arizona South Design Excellence Award.

Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

10. And on a sweeter note, they’re creative with cookies… and cocktails.

Bottega claimed the winning title at the 2018 Girl Scout “Cookies & Cocktails” Competition.

Girl Scout Cookies by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Girl Scout Cookies by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Bottega Michelangeo is located at 420 W. Magee Rd., Oro Valley. For more information, visit bottegamichelangelo.com.

Kate hails from South Africa. Yes, you read correctly. After wrestling lions and riding elephant-back, she finds herself in the desert. Feel free to charm her with mimosas anytime.

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