By Matthew Schniper 

After 22 years in business, including 19 at its South Tejon Street location, The Blue Star shut down in late 2017 to open again somewhere downtown by sometime in 2019.

Stellina Pizza Cafe is expected to open around May, tentatively.

That was according to The Blue Star Group at the time, and today by way of update, chief of brand and strategy Sarah Mishler says they’re still not sure when “version 3.0” will occur.

Meanwhile, they have plans to add a new entity to their portfolio, which includes the Principal’s Office and La’au’s. Look for Stellina Pizza Cafe to open around May, tentatively, in the former, short-lived Willamette Market & Deli and longtime Little Market & Deli spot at 749 E. Willamette Ave.

BSG owner Joseph Coleman co-owns the building, and the name, says Mishler, translates to “little star” and “pays homage to the Little Market and Blue Star Group.”

Former Blue Star chef Will Merwin will create and consult on Stellina’s menu, as well as train its staff, says Mishler, noting Merwin and Coleman spent time in Italy recently to study up.

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They fell in love with square-shaped, Roman-style pizza, and are working to perfect a dough recipe.

“It’s something people here won’t be used to,” she says, adding “the goal is the authentic, simplicity of Italian food, with fresh and few ingredients.”

Stellina will also serve homemade pasta, gluten-free risotto, seasonal soups, salads and appetizers, with gelato (not house-made) for dessert.

A rendering of what Stellina Pizza Cafe will look like on the inside.

It will offer counter service, and has a liquor license. Look for half a dozen wines and three or four cocktails and beer varietals each, all on tap, as part of a sustainability effort to avoid packaging waste.

To that end, they plan to compost (in support of the nearby Middle Shooks Run Community Garden) and install solar panels. In respect of the residential area, Stellina plans to close by 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 on weekends, and encourage biking and walking in.