Two of the pizza industry’s most revered figures—John Arena and Chris Decker of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas—have partnered with rising star Michael Vakneen in Truly Pizza, a new venture that opened on Thursday, June 22, in Dana Point, California.

Truly Pizza features square and round woodfired pies sold whole or by the slice, made with a five-day-fermented dough that yields a cloudlike yet crispy, airy texture, plus a selection of focaccia sandwiches, salads and desserts.

The new restaurant’s partners are veteran operators and highly accomplished, award-winning pizzaioli who helped transform the pizza scene in Las Vegas. Arena is co-owner of Metro Pizza, which has four locations in that city, and Decker is Metro Pizza’s managing partner. Arena was featured on PMQ’s February 2014 cover and has made pizzas for five U.S. presidents.

Related: Metro Pizza’s Chris Decker Talks Pickles, Eggs and Empathy

Vakneen earned global acclaim as a chef and pizzaiolo at Pop Up Pizza in Las Vegas. His pork belly and date jam pizza won second place in the non-traditional pizza category at the 2023 International Pizza Challenge. He also earned top honors in the International Italian Sandwich competition.

Other partners in the venture are hospitality veterans Steve Muller and Donna Baldwin-Muller of D&S Partners LLC.

“Our Truly Pizza team has worked passionately and enthusiastically to create a neighborhood pizzeria that is welcoming, service-oriented and thoughtful to our customers throughout the entire guest experience,” Baldwin-Muller said in a press release. “Our collective love for great pizza is what brought us together, and we’ve all added our own flavor and expertise to create a culinary experience only found at Truly Pizza.”

This photo shows a beautiful pizza topped with cup-and-char pepperoni and other ingredients against a black backdrop

The Crispy Pepperoni (Truly Pizza)

Must-try items on the Truly Pizza menu include the Umami Mushroom (creamy onion and garlic sauce, smoked mozzarella, marinated wood-roasted mushrooms and toasted sesame oil); the Suprema (housemade vodka sauce, fresh and aged whole-milk mozzarella, spicy giardiniera, cup-and-char pepperoni and grated Romano cheese); and the Smoky Vodka (housemade vodka sauce, fresh and whole-milk mozz, semi-dried marinated tomatoes, burrata, pistachio lemon pesto, stracciatella and fresh basil).

Related: John Arena’s favorite ways to use olive oil

Truly Pizza boasts a dine-in garden piazza with a rooftop wine bar and an exhibition kitchen that lets guests watch their pizza-makers in action.

Decker said the Truly Pizza team will “continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with pizza and hospitality.”

“Dana Point is a community that we believe will appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that goes into our pizzas,” he added. “We’ve dedicated ourselves to perfecting our dough, which is the foundation for quality pizza, and we can’t wait to share it with the people of Dana Point and beyond.”