A protégé of pizza maker Chris Bianco is opening his own pizzeria in Tucson’s downtown warehouse district.

Scott Girod hopes to open Monello — Italian for “brat” or “street urchin” — by late December or early January, once he finishes renovations to the former gallery space at 222 E. Sixth St. Work includes knocking down walls to open up the 800-square-foot space and creating a kitchen that will include a wood-fired Ferraro pizza oven imported from Italy.

Girod said his goal is to keep pizza simple and affordable, much as it is in Naples, Italy, where he studied pizza-making several years ago.

“Pizza is a common food. When I was in Naples, everyone could eat pizza,” he said. “You could get an individual pizza for one euro and they served it on butcher paper.”

Monello’s menu will be limited to a trio of personal-sized, 12-inch pizzas made with locally sourced ingredients and dressed simply with herbs, cheese, olive oil and garlic; you also can request prosciutto or spicy capocollo. Pizzas will be $11, and most other menu items, which include charcuterie, roasted vegetables and desserts, will be $6 or less.

Girod, 30, said he decided to open Monello after Bianco closed his Congress Street Pizzeria Bianco in September. He said he and his wife, Shuko, decided they wanted to stay in Tucson with their 8-month-old son.

Girod worked for Bianco for four years, including two at his Phoenix restaurants. He was with the James Beard Award-winning chef when he opened Pizzeria Bianco at 272 E. Congress St. in summer 2014 and stuck with him until he closed in mid-September.

“We kind of wanted to stay after the unfortunate closing,” Girod said.

Bianco has been cheerleading for his former employee and predicted Girod will do well.

“It’s a small place. He will definitely be able to put his stamp on it,” said Bianco. “He has a good heart and a good soul. I think it’s a good match for Tucson.”

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter: @Starburch

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.