Whitney Butters Wilde, Deseret News

BOUNTIFUL — As its name suggests, Ti Amo Wood Fired Pizza is all about love.

Italian for “I love you,” Ti Amo reflects how the staff at this family-operated pizzeria feels about each other and about their work.

According to the back of the menu, the restaurant’s history began in Marina di Pisa, a town on the west Mediterranean coast of Italy. There among a crowd of swimmers, a young boy named Mauro boldly declared his love to a girl, shouting “Ti amo, Gloria!” prompting her to bashfully jump into the nearby water to hide.

Mauro and Gloria Bonfanti eventually got married, had three children and are now the owners of Ti Amo Wood Fired Pizza, “a fresh artisan pizza, hoping to begin new memories, traditions and new love stories,” the menu states.

And the atmosphere at Ti Amo Wood Fired Pizza is just as charming as its backstory.

Located in a strip mall in Bountiful, the restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, and the inside is simply decorated with large photos of Italian sites, but it’s the friendly staff that creates Ti Amo’s homey feel.

A window into the kitchen not only gives guests a peek into the cooking process as employees toss dough into the air, add toppings and put the pizzas into the wood-fired oven, but it also allows patrons to see the staff — many, if not all, appeared to be family members — work together. Both Gloria and Mauro Bonfanti made stops by the tables as they went about their work, greeting guests and asking if the food is satisfactory.

As far as the food, Ti Amo’s menu goes well beyond simple cheese and pepperoni and is instead full of traditional Italian pizza combinations ranging in price from $9.95-$13.95 for a 12-inch pizza. The waiter listed several popular menu items, including the Capriccoisa and Caprese, so I ordered one of each, which provided for plenty of leftovers.

The pizzas were loaded with toppings that provided dimension in both taste and look, but the large, chunky size of the toppings made a fork a necessity as the thin crust could not support the stack of toppings.

The Capriccoisa — with mozzarella, cooked ham, cremini mushrooms, fire-roasted bell peppers, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts — tasted like it landed in Utah straight from a kitchen in Italy and had a nice balance of salty with a hint of sweet. The Caprese — with mozzarella slices, sliced tomatoes, basil, oregano, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze — was essentially a salad on top of a pizza. The balsamic glaze was the best part of the Caprese, and the pizza as a whole had welcomed freshness to it.

For anyone with a taste for real Italian cuisine, Ti Amo is your pizzeria. And although the food was certainly delicious, it’s the people and their backstory that will leave you wanting to go back for more.

Location: 515 W. 2600 South, Bountiful

Price: $9.95-$13.95 for a 12-inch pizza

Slice score: 5 out of 6 slices