Scottsdale-based Maggiore Group is introducing a new concept and new cuisine – this summer: a Mexican restaurant appropriately named The Mexicano.
The Mexicano marks the first time the Maggiore Group, known for its Italian restaurants such as The Sicilian Butcher and Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant, has taken on Mexican cuisine.
“I wanted to explore the art of Mexican cuisine,” said restaurant owner Chef Joey Maggiore, who added that the cuisine is an “unexpected passion” of his.
Announced at a private event on April 15 – complete with a 40-foot piñata – The Mexicano will take the place of Salty Sow in northern Phoenix.
The restaurant will offer “over-the-top” twists on classic Mexican dishes, with names like Lava Rock Fajitas, Pastor and Lamb Tacos on made-to-order blue corn tortillas and Smoking Ceviche.
The menu also boasts a variety of “Machetes,” 4-foot corn masa quesadillas stuffed with oaxaca cheese, green salsa and a choice of braised short ribs, chicken tinga, pastor or zucchini blossoms.
The menu also features 15 different tacos, including classics such as al pastor, carne asada and carnitas to lighter fare such as blackened salmon and zucchini flower and more daring flavors such as lamb loin, camaron and chicken tinga.
Overall, menu prices range from $7 to $25.
“Like cooking Italian food, I appreciate the culture and tradition behind creating authentic recipes, and this was a project I was very excited to share with my staff and the public,” Maggiore said.
But the real draw of the new concept, however, is the introduction of the country’s first build-your-own michelada bar.
As part of the experience, patrons can choose from infused tequilas, Mexican draft beer and more than 40 toppings – including sweet and savory oysters, shrimp cocktail, pickled jicama, dry chorizo, tamarindo sticks and habañero cheese, among many others.
Spearheaded by mixologists Matt Allen, The Mexicano’s cocktail program will include plenty of Mexican draft craft cocktails and piñata margaritas.
The restaurant’s design was spearheaded by Cristina Maggiore, Joey’s wife, and will feature similarly vibrant flair made popular by the restaurant group’s sister concept, Hash Kitchen, as well as authentic imported furniture.
Guests will have the option of sitting indoors or on the patio, considered one of the largest covered outdoor patios in the state with seating for more than 500 people.
And on weekends, guests will be treated to live Latin DJs and mariachi bands.
Ahead of the Mexicano’s opening, The Maggiore Group recently celebrated the opening of The Italian Daughter Cucina + Cocktails, an Italian restaurant and piano bar owned by Melissa Maggiore that opened on April 16 in northern Scottsdale.
“The Italian Daughter is a restaurant concept that I believe my father would have been really excited to see,” Melissa said. “I’m just looking forward to everybody just being able to enjoy themselves again.”
Melissa’s late father, Tomaso Maggiore, passed away in January after a years-long battle with brain and lung cancer.
In memory of the late legendary chef, the family-owned and operated restaurant group formed a culinary arts foundation called The Tomaso Maggiore Culinary Arts Foundation.
“We are truly grateful for the generous outpouring of support being provided to the foundation by those who were touched by and who wish to honor the memory of our father, Tomaso” said Joey, president of the Tomaso Culinary Arts Foundation. Joey, Melissa, and Cristina will act as its directors.
To further the foundation’s mission, the board will establish a scholarship that supports students pursuing an education in the culinary arts. The selection criteria, application process and value of the scholarship awards will be announced at a later date.
“We very much appreciate everyone’s patience as we finalize the scholarship details,” Joey said.
For those who wish to support its charitable mission, monetary contributions to the foundation can be made via check payable to “The Tomaso Maggiore Culinary Arts Foundation” and mailed to 14747 N. Northsight Blvd., Suite 106, Scottsdale, AZ 85260.