Chris Disney grew up in the restaurant industry. His mother was a general manager of a Mexican restaurant, so he was there with her often. He helped out bussing tables, bringing customers chips and salsa—and even doing dishes at just 8 years old.
Today, Disney is the managing partner of Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen.
Why did you choose to open Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen?
We opened the first Picazzo’s back in 2002 in Sedona and wanted to bring a unique, upscale pizza experience to that market, where there was a void.
What drives your menu?
Our guests drive our menu inspiration. The reason we have expanded into gluten-free, organic, vegan/vegetarian, etc. is based on feedback from our guests. Of course, we get to have some fun too and try to integrate unique flavors and ingredients into what we feel will be well received.
Personal menu favorites?
I really like our Elote pizza and a new item coming in November: Adobo Chicken. The dish features adobo-seasoned and marinated chicken thighs that get roasted and basted and served over a roasted jalapeño white bean purée.
Picazzo’s is currently hosting a fundraiser. Can you tell us what sparked it and what you are doing?
My 2-year-old daughter Collyns was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome in October of 2022. It’s a rare neurological disorder that affects her ability to walk, talk, and have purposeful use of her hands. It can cause inconsistent breathing patterns, seizures, the need for feeding tubes, teeth grinding, and more. At Picazzo’s, we decided to partner with and donate to Rett Syndrome Research Trust (RSRT), the only organization that is solely focused on research for a cure. The exciting part is that the science is there to support the hope that a cure is actually possible for this condition.
Are there any other ways the community can support your daughter and your family?
All our guests need to do is come in and purchase a cookie dessert and Picazzo’s will donate $1 for every cookie sold to RSRT—all year long! We also have a link on the website for more information or to donate directly.
Do you have any future plans for Picazzo’s?
I would like to see us open a couple more stores around the Valley and reach more people who have dietary restrictions and have a need for what we offer. If we can establish a footprint of seven or eight stores, we would consider expansion outside of the Arizona market.
What do you love about Scottsdale?
I love the weather and the food. Specifically in Scottsdale, the restaurants that are available are great. There is a lot of competition in our industry but it makes for a great food scene for sure.
What’s one thing we’d be surprised to learn about you?
In another career long ago, I was a tattoo artist. Nowadays, my kids and I practice Jiu Jitsu and sometimes I’ll have a bruise or a scrape and I’ll have to explain where it came from.