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Life in Chula Vista: Family restaurant thriving since 1950s

Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-10 19:03:03-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - The heart and soul of Chula Vista’s economy are the family businesses run by multiple generations. La Bella Pizza Garden is one such mom and pop shop.

10News anchor Kimberly Hunt stopped by this 1950s pizza parlor, now run by Tony Raso.

“I used to roll pizza and make meatballs in the 70s”, says Raso.

Raso proudly displays photos of his mother and father, who opened the restaurant almost 60 years ago.

“That's his delivery vehicle in the 50s. We were delivering pizzas way back.”

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They passed the family business on to their son, who proudly keeps their delicious traditions alive.

“We get lots of families. They enjoy our classic pizza. It's never changed," said Raso. “We make meatballs, spaghetti, lasagna. They've been cooking all day.”

La Bella Pizza Garden now has three generations of family history. Raso’s son Michael works alongside his father. He will eventually take over the business. He says their customers are family too.

“When I'm working up front, they come in and say my grandparents came here, we come here, our kids come here, You can't stop that, you've got to keep it going," said Michael Raso.

He plans to run La Bella Pizza as long as the generations before him.

"He's taken it 30 years, my grandparents, 30 years, I'm going to try to do the same thing," said Michael Raso.

La Bella Pizza Garden is located at 373 Third Avenue in Chula Vista. The doors open every day starting at 8 a.m.