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Our Story

In 1980, third-generation Pizzaiolo, John Arena left New York to introduce his family pizza traditions to Las Vegas. Upon arrival, John met Donna Baldwin and gave her one of her first jobs in the hospitality industry. The two become lifelong friends. Donna went on to build a successful career in the Hotel/Casino industry.  Over the years, they would joke about reuniting to build their ideal pizzeria in Southern California. Their dream was to create an intimate casual dining experience in an idyllic setting.  Fast forward to today and what was once a dream is becoming a reality. With the addition of John’s World Pizza Champion collaborator and teammate Chris Decker and Dana Point Real Estate developer Steve Muller, the four friends have come together with a single aspiration: to create a local gathering place providing uncompromising food in a beautiful and welcoming environment. Guests will relax and enjoy the artistry of California-focused ingredients combined with a lifetime of dedication to the craft of pizza making. Located in the heart of Dana Point. 

“We’ve created Truly Pizza to serve as a neighborhood pizzeria that is welcoming, enthusiastic, service oriented and thoughtful to our customers throughout the entire guest experience,” says Donna Baldwin, co-founder of Truly Pizza. “We value and care deeply about our local community and look forward to expressing our passion for hospitality, design and of course amazing pizza with our neighbors here in Dana Point.”

“Food is the expression of our community, the environment and the background of the people who make and eat the food, and we’ve created Truly Pizza to be a hub that brings these expressions to life through great pizza,” says John Arena. “Our menu is informed but not bound by tradition, and mindfully curated from the ingredients to the food’s aesthetic – every decision is selected for a purpose with a focus on local sourcing and supporting farmers in our community.”

The design imagined by Ted Berner & Dayna Lee, Powerstrip Studio lets guests dine in a garden and drink wine on the rooftop. The restaurant design is a romantic piazza that brings people home to stay. The exhibition kitchen to showcase Truly Pizza’s passion and love for hand-crafted pizza.