Stella’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Bistro, 250 E. Main Street is celebrating their one-year anniversary this week, and quite the year it was. Owners Laurie and Dr. Doug Gottschalk opened their restaurant on Main Street in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, at a time when many businesses were struggling to pivot to a different way of doing things.

“This year, we have seen the ebb and flow of the restaurant business first hand. It isn’t easy to predict what each day will bring. We are very blessed to have developed relationships with so many wonderful people. We have our “regular” customers that never disappoint and we have seen many visitors from out of town that help to inspire us,” Laurie said.

The restaurant is constantly evolving, deleting and adding items to the menu while maintaining authenticity and to offer customers a true, Italian dining experience.

Take for instance, their Neapolitan-style pizza cooked fast in the bright brick oven.

When it comes to pizza, foodies will argue the merits of New York-style thin crust, and deep-dish Chicago-style, but Neapolitan is altogether different. The crust puffs on the outside, but underneath the toppings it is thin and tender, pretty much requiring a knife and fork to eat, compared to the sturdy crust of fast food pizzas.

Asking the Gottschalks their favorite item on the menu is akin to asking a parent to pick their favorite child, but it’s hard to go wrong with the two pizzas named after the two biggest college mascots in the state.

First, there’s the Razorback, which has Black Forest ham, pepperoni, spicy sausage, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, on fresh tomato sauce and topped with fresh rounds of mozzarella. Then there’s the Red Wolf, spicy sausage, Italian salami, red chilis, drizzle of hot honey, extra virgin olive oil, on fresh tomato sauce and topped with fresh rounds of mozzarella. They also have tender breadsticks and large sandwiches.

While pizza is part of their name, Stella’s is becoming the go-to place for decadent cheesecakes and gelato.

The Gottschalks love their location on Main Street.

“There is a bond among the merchants that is irreplaceable. We feel like we are part of a movement to revitalize and breathe new life into familiarity. There’s nostalgia on main street and we love being nestled among the history and the arts and the feelings of “hometown” that you get when you’re walking up and down our streets,” Laurie said.

The atmosphere in Stella’s is downright happy, like making a new friend.

“The first thing customers say to us is that they love the atmosphere of Stella’s. It’s nontraditional and fun and sets the stage for a perfect dining experience. Most people say that when they enter the doors they can’t believe they’re still in Batesville. Our regular customers have their favorites from the menu and tell us that we never disappoint their taste buds,” Laurie said.

Stella’s is named after the Gottschalk’s beloved Neapolitan mastiff.

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