Our Story

About Us

Chiesa (Italian for church) is a quaint Italian restaurant featuring generations of family recipes, house-made pasta, and local ingredients. Located in the historic Montford neighborhood, Chiesa (pronounced kee-ay-sa) is housed in a building that has been at the center of the community for over one hundred years, serving as the local grocery store, then as a church, and since 2014, the neighborhood Italian restaurant.

~Food for the Soul~ 

Over the years we have been honored to share in guests having fun evenings out with friends, couples enjoying date nights, families honoring loved ones’ birthdays and young lovers celebrating engagements. We delight in welcoming both new and old friends from near and far on a nightly basis.  Our friendly staff welcomes all guests as family, providing a warm and comfortable atmosphere for both inside and patio dining (when weather permits).

Newton Clark, Owner


A resident of Asheville since 2006, Newton was anointed into the food industry over 30 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia.  It seems that he was always predestined to land on the front steps of Chiesa. Through the decades he had held every position from dishwasher to manager in some of Atlanta’s and Asheville’s finest (and he confesses, not so fine) restaurants. Over the years, the goal of one day having his own restaurant came into focus.  It is not surprising that “Divine intervention” and fortuitous timing would lead to Chiesa’s pew lined interior in the fall of 2017 where he realized his goal in assuming ownership of the restaurant from its founders, Robert and Melissa Willingham.

You will find Newton at Chiesa most evenings socializing with his guests. That he has found his calling making all who enter Chiesa feel welcomed would be an understatement.   It is his hope that you will find your dining experience at Chiesa to be more than just a meal, rather more of a shared special memory, and an ongoing tradition for you, your family and friends.

Sam Greco, Chef

Chef Greco

Sam Greco’s love for the restaurant culture dates back to his first job as a young teenager working in the dish pit of a pizzeria.  He had no idea that this experience was actually the beginning of his life’s calling.  After graduating from high school, Greco enrolled in AB-Tech with plans of becoming a chemist.  Looking for a job to help with expenses, he once again found himself working in a restaurant,  but this time as a line cook. He discovered that he loved the combination of chemistry, food, and preparing meals for guests.  It was not long before he decided not to be a chemist and enrolled in the school’s highly esteemed Culinary Arts program. After graduation from the program, Chef Greco held a variety of  positions in Asheville restaurants. However, it was not until he was hired at Chiesa as a line cook that he truly felt at home. In 2017, when the position of chef became available, Chef Greco immediately applied and was promoted. Over the past few years his innovative and creative approach to Italian cuisine,  has continued to evolve, but his passion for preparing and creating  memorable meals for Chiesa’s guests has remained a constant.

Spreading the Good News!

We are honored to be the recipient of the following accolades: