Diners looking for interesting, flavorful Italian cuisine, will enjoy exploring the menu at Ciao Bella in Schererville.

Owner Giuseppe "Joe" Scalzo, who debuted the restaurant in 2009, continues to offer guests an authentic culinary experience starring the best of the flavors of Italy.

Scalzo's cozy ristorante/pizzeria/wine bar features a warm setting and servers who are attentive and personable.

When Scalzo opened his eatery, he told this reporter that his focus was to warmly welcome his guests to a restaurant that sported an atmosphere where they'd feel like they were dining in the quaint cafes in Italy.

At Ciao Bella, which translated means "Hello Beautiful," a variety of pasta, pizza, meat dishes and seafood recipes are in the spotlight.

We visited Ciao Bella on a recent Thursday afternoon for the Create Your Own Pasta promotion. Create Your Own Pasta is available for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Once seated, guests are given the regular menu. Tucked inside the menu is a sheet which features the Create Your Own Pasta directions. If diners would like that option, one must fill out the form, which features a choice of pasta, sauce and three ingredients. Simply hand that to your server and he or she will deliver it to the kitchen staff.

Among pastas featured are rigatoni, spaghetti, linguine, farfalle and others. Sauces include spicy tomato, four cheese, Bolognese, Alfredo and more. Choice of ingredients include mushrooms, chicken, peas, onions, zucchini and much more.

Diners visiting the eatery on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays may order the All You Can Eat Express Buffet, available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Ciao Bella's lunch menu also features a variety of dishes such as gourmet pizzas, including Pizza ai Fichi ($13) and Pizza Margherita ($12); Insalata di Melanzana ($10), which has breaded eggplant, tomatoes and other ingredients; Bruschetta Burger ($9); Pollo alle Romana ($14) and Costolette di Agnello ($25), which are baby lamb chops.

At the restaurant, occasional cooking demonstrations by the chef, wine dinners and other culinary events are often featured.

Ciao Bella will present its New Year's Eve celebration from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31. A four-course meal stars along with a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. Cost is $99 per person plus tax and gratuity.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.