Melissa Maggiore of the Maggiore Group is days away from launching the restaurant group’s newest concept, The Italian Daughter Cucina + Cocktails.
Patrons at the new restaurant, slated to open around April 10 in northern Scottsdale, can expect more than Italian cuisine, however.
The restaurant is also a piano bar where guests can sing along to the classics, from Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra to top hits throughout the decades.
“We’re going to be doing some elevated Italian food along with a balance of the classics that everybody’s looking for in an environment that you can enjoy – whether you’re on a date night, a girls’ night, a group of golfers after golf, and even families,” Maggiore said.
The Italian Daughter, which will boast modern-meets-classic Italian decor in a quaint and cozy atmosphere, will feature made-from-scratch Italian dishes, like Pear and Gorgonzola Ravioli Cacio e Pepe, as well as craft charcuterie boards and foot-long build-your-own pizza boards.
Not all dishes will be wholly Italian, either.
“Some have Spanish influence or Asian influence,” Maggiore said. “And some of the dishes will be not just Sicilian, but dishes that you see in other regions of Italy and done in a way that is more current and on trend, but still able to maintain those classic flavors that you look for in Italian dining.”
The menu will include a handful of Melissa’s late father Tomaso Maggiore’s favorite Italian dishes, too, including Spaghetti Picchi Pacchiu, which Melissa describes as a “very simple dish of fresh heirloom tomato and garlic – my father’s favorite.”
The dish is so special that 100 percent of the proceeds from each one sold will go to the Tomaso Maggiore Culinary Education Scholarship, which was set up in January after Tomaso’s passing.
“In Italy, we eat very simply, and it was one of his favorite dishes,” Melissa said. “So, that’s something that I have on the menu that I’m hoping we can generate a lot of money for this scholarship and organization that’s a tribute to my father.”
Melissa also has plans to add a pizza oven to the restaurant in order to serve Sfincione, a Sicilian pizza Tomaso grew up eating that’s topped with ricotta, caramelized onions, anchovies and herbed toasted breadcrumbs.
“When my father came to this country back in 1969, his first three restaurants were pizzerias,” Melissa said. “So, I’m kind of taking it back to where it all started.”
The restaurant name itself is a tribute to Melissa’s father.
“I’m proud of being his daughter, and I’m proud of being Italian. There are a lot of things that go along with being an Italian daughter, and I thought, ‘That’s a great name,’ and it’s a great tribute to him,” Melissa said.
“He taught me everything that I know in this business and really in life, and so I wanted to do something that continued his legacy and blended it with who I am,” she continued.
Tomaso also loved music, Melissa said, so the piano bar also acts as a tribute to his fondness for artists such as Sinatra and Joel.
The Italian Daughter will feature live piano music by local musicians nightly.
“Growing up, we would be singing in the car all the time when we were going on trips,” Melissa recalled. “He was just somebody that was always in a good mood and always singing and cooking and laughing. And those are memories that have helped me get through this difficult time in our family’s life.”
“My hope is that the energy that he has used to emulate is present in this restaurant,” she added.
Even the location is a nod to Tomaso: It will replace Tomaso’s Italian Kitchen.
According to Melissa, her father insisted she take over the space.
“When my father got sick, he said, ‘Melissa, why are you going to find another location? This is a great location. I believe in the location. I think it’s perfect for you. Why don’t you do it there?’” she recalled.
Melissa had been working on the restaurant-piano bar concept with her father since last fall.
She wanted to open a restaurant that she herself would want to frequent as a northern Scottsdale resident.
“There isn’t a lot for people in my age demographic to do up here in North Scottsdale. We’re a little bit too old to go to the bars, but we’re not boring enough to just go to dinner and go home. And especially with the pandemic, we’ve all been kind of locked up in our houses for so long that I just wanted to bring something like this to my community,” Melissa said.
Melissa hopes that the Italian Daughter will become a place where people can check their worries at the door, enjoy good Italian food, enjoy live music again, and, of course, make her father proud.
“The Italian Daughter is a restaurant concept that I believe my father would have been really excited to see,” she said. “I’m just looking forward to everybody just being able to enjoy themselves again.”
Leading up to its opening, the Italian Daughter continues to hire both back of the house and front of the house position, including servers, hosts, and more.
Those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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