Mission Impizzable: La Bellas is Back

Juliana Kye, Matthew Carver, and Gia Liu

La Bellas is a newly reopened pizza place located in Ridgewood near Kings and Ridgewood Bagels. The beauty of La Bella’s is that it is a family owned pizza place, belonging to Kenan Yildirim, also known as Kenny. Many customers describe him to be a kind hearted, ambitious, and enterprising man that makes the best pizza in downtown Ridgewood. La Bella’s has been a staple in Ridgewood for as long as the community could remember. Which is why so many people were devastated to learn that La Bella’s had burnt down on April 24, 2016. Kenny spoke about La Bella’s as if it were his child, which is what made it hurt so much as he watched it be destroyed by the fire. 

The experience of finding out about the fire was one that Kenny described as, “Something that only happens in the movies.” 

He started off by talking about how he was originally on his way to a night out with his wife on Sunday the 24th. His wife had recently had her birthday and they had been on their way to celebrate, via a nice and relaxing dinner, but what Kenny got was quite the polar opposite. The store had been closed that Sunday (the one day it is closed for business) but one of his employee’s had walked by when he saw smoke leaking out of the structure. The employee contacted Kenny who turned the car around and drove as fast as he could to La Bella’s. As he arrived, he tried to force himself through the group of firemen that were protecting the beloved restaurant, but the firefighters held him back from getting himself harmed. Not even Kenny’s remark of his ownership of the restaurant could not get him through. There was nothing he could do except watch his family’s “child” burn to rubble .

Despite being one of the many shops in the strip mall or in downtown Ridgewood as a whole, this was one of the most loved pizza parlors, and the community just couldn’t let it go. Many of the residents in Ridgewood, along with other customers were sorrowful beyond belief. Among these many individuals, one particular young man was so regretful that the place had burned down, he decided to assist in it’s reopening. This young man’s name is Doug Bunza and through his love for La Bellas, he started a GoFundMe page which he used to gather money, which was eventually going to be used to help La Bellas stand back up on its feet. 

Many assume that Kenny knew of this GoFundMe event as soon as it started, but this is false news. This event was actually kept a secret to Kenny so that they could surprise him later on. He describes his feelings of finding out about this as wholesome and hopeful. This pure act of kindness definitely helped in the rebuilding of La Bellas. 

La Bellas was scheduled to open two to three years after the fire but was unable to due to many circumstances. Some of these circumstances include adding a handicap bathroom, but these inconveniences came with a good outcome. The handicap bathroom actually causes the pizza parlor to have less tables, but this is not a problem, as La Bellas has a delivery and take out system. Currently, there are three tables at La Bellas but they say that during the summer, they put tables outside so that customers can enjoy the good weather. Although the wait for La Bellas was longer through the inconveniences, the pizza parlor now has many new advanced gadgets, such as a drink refrigerator. The reopening of La Bellas has been a great success, and Kenny said, “The business was gone for now and I know I’m not going to see the community anymore. I was so close to everyone. I love my job. I missed the community. It felt like the movie was ending. People love the pizza now that I reopened. They tell me they really love it. Everyone has been waiting so patiently for a long time.I can’t give enough thanks to the community and everyone! Thank you so much for the support!”¨