When Joey Maggiore opened the first location of The Sicilian Butcher in 2017 off Tatum Boulevard and Greenway Road in Scottsdale, his wanted to pay homage to the restaurants his Sicily-born father ran to raise his family.
“This is my family heritage,” Joey said. “My father was born and raised in Sicily, so Sicilian culture has always been with me.”
Maggiore’s father Tomaso immigrated from Italy to New York when he was 19. He began opening restaurants settling in Arizona in 1977 and opening Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant in the Camelback Corridor.
Inspired by his father’s tremendous work ethic and commitment to providing the most authentic Italian cuisine possible, Maggiore knew that he eventually wanted to create a restaurant that paid homage to his beloved father.
When he began decorating the first location of The Sicilian Butcher, he included a large picture of Tomaso smoking a cigarette and rolling an uncooked meatball – a nod to the original Sicilian Butcher, as Joey describes the image.
The restaurant started as a hit and through trials and tribulations, Joey found himself leaning on a piece of his father’s advice.
“My dad put a philosophy with Tomaso’s forty-plus years ago and that was ‘If you treat people right and you give (them) amazing food, they will come,’ and that’s what happened with The Sicilian Butcher,” Joey said.
He also touts his restaurant’s dedication to authentic Italian cuisine as a reason for its early success.
Joey makes it a point to travel to Italy every year to taste Italian dishes and compares them to the ones he makes in his establishments.
“We always travel and see how they’re doing and sometimes we’d come back satisfied that we were pretty close in taste and then sometimes we come back and we go back to the drawing board,” Joey said.
He cites the authenticity of his dishes to his Italian-sourced ingredients like Sicilian sheep’s milk ricotta and his commitment to crafting cuisine the same way chefs cook in Italy.
Although his original goal was to give North Phoenix and North Scottsdale residents a place to congregate and indulge in authentic Italian cuisine, Joey admits that a part of him saw this concept growing from its Scottsdale origin.
“I mean, the cocky side of (being) a chef and a restauranteur you always think that you’re the best and you’re going to take your brands and take over the world,” Joey said.
However, that is precisely what Joey is beginning to do.
After carving up the dirt and opening two additional locations of The Sicilian Butcher in Chandler (2019) and Peoria (2020), Joey recently inked a deal with the Savory Fund – a Utah-based private equity firm – to grow his other concept, Hash Kitchen.
Through that partnership, The Sicilian Baker to expand the concept by 20 restaurants over the next four years into markets throughout Arizona as well as Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Las Vegas.
“It’s super exciting to see that something that you put all your sweat and tears into really goes to the next level,” Joey said.
He also said that this rapid expansion would keep the day-to-day operations of his existing locations the same.
“What it does is it frees us up so we don’t have to take over the day-to-day operations anymore,” Joey said. “It frees up new brands we’re working on like The Mexicano and other concepts we’re working on.”
He is also excited to have a say in where these new restaurants pop up and what the menus taste like.
“I get the final say in all the markets they choose and I continue with the food and beverage program since I have all the recipes,” Joey said. “So, it’s nice that we’re able to do a site tour when (the Savory Fund) find locations where we touch the dirt and we make sure it’s the area that we want to see our brand.”
So far, he has found suitors in Texas and Las Vegas.
“Restaurants do extremely well in those markets and both have a similar footprint as Arizona so, we see a perfect fit for our brands there,” Joey said.
He also has plans to expand to the East Valley but has yet to announce exact locations.
In the meantime, Joey is focused on carving out a future for each of his various concepts and sharing tasty cuisine one bite at a time.