People go to Sedona, Arizona for many reasons both natural and supernatural. Whether you like rocks for climbing, divination or both, most can agree that at the end of a long day the energy you expend one way or anther will build within you a mighty, mighty hunger. Calories have escaped you in some creative, invigorating manner and as the sun begins to set one of the absolute best places to reclaim a day’s worth is at Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen.

Located conveniently along the west fork of the area’s main drag, Highway 89A, you’ll find ample parking, easy access and an amicable staff waiting to serve you with alacrity the minute you arrive. The atmosphere was casually upscale and made me feel welcome even in just a baseball cap and t-shirt. I also had on pants. A tasteful move on my part for a very tasteful restaurant. And taste is what this place is all about. Their menu is full without becoming fussy. It’s an Italian joint, pizza and pasta reign supreme, but surprisingly so too does a huge dose of healthiness not often encountered in places with similar fare. My wifey is gluten intolerant. If she sees a gluten she’ll walk right up and punch it in the face! Or just eat it! It’s a tough and daily struggle but, when given the chance to dine in a completely gluten free environment (save for two pizza crust options), she’s always game. Then it goes and tastes amazing? Wifey goes gaga!

We’re also both fans of organic and non-GMO options because Monsanto is a bitch. At Picazzo’s it’s pretty clear their salivary subtext is this: use great ingredients to make great food. A simple idea that’s hard to realize while making you believe you’re still cramming your face with old world peninsular born comfort foods. My first time visiting I chose to cram a BBQ chicken pizza (minus the onions, plus the spicy chipotle sauce) into my face. And post crammin’, boy was my face a very happy face. Crust, toppings, presentation…all grand. The sauce rode flavorful more than fiery but that was fine with me too. Back again the next night and tried the Tuscan Chicken Breast. That was yummy as well. A milder choice than the previous evening sure, but with a bit of a road trip planned the next morning I was aiming for “watertight” and anything too heavy might sink my ship as it were. Mild doesn’t mean meager, only different. Then, we managed one more visit before our trip came to an end. It was Saturday night, September the 10th. The sun was setting over Thunder Mountain and the table was set for one last supper with my family. I was glad to spend those moments at Picazzo’s. Chicken Parmesan was the go to, a tried and true simple fave. It was chicken, breaded in Parmesan. It, like all the other offerings, was scrumptious. But to focus solely on the food? You might be missing the point.

While the cuisine was on point, it was the overall feeling we got dining at Picazzo’s that kept us coming back over and over and over. I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t mention that one very overwhelming factor in our frequent attendance at this particular Italian dinner table was one particular server.

His name? MikeHis talent? Making you and yours feel like a million bucks.

This man was equal parts knowledge and humor wrapped up in a sassy classiness that is often attempted but very rarely pulled off in such a adroit fashion. I loved this guy. My mom and dad did too. And my half-Italian wife adored him. Kudos then sir, to you and your staff. You started the week as “guy working our section” and ended as a pal. A title I don’t hand out willy-nilly. So thanks man.

And thank you to everybody at Picazzo’s for being spectacular. The salutations…the savoriness…the sunsets.

You filled our stomachs folks but more importantly, you filled our hearts.