A serial restaurateur, Joey Maggiore is embarking on his most personal venture yet: The Sicilian Butcher. A tribute to his late father, the restaurant celebrates his Italian heritage and the foods he would cook for Maggiore as a child.
“He gave his life for Italian food and culture,” Maggiore said of his father.
In every location of The Sicilian Butcher — there are currently three in Arizona — there will be a picture of Maggiore’s father, a loving tribute to the man who taught Maggiore everything, including how to cook.
“My father was a simple man, but he had over 30 restaurants in his career,” he said. “I'm doing what he was always scared to do, in a sense, where he never really wanted to let go a little bit.”
While Maggiore is better known for his other concepts, including 2022 Breakout Brand Hash Kitchen, he never forgot his Italian roots — he was just waiting for the right time.
“I never forgot the passion of what we are,” he said. “When I opened The Sicilian Butcher, I opened it in [my father’s] honor and opened it saying, ‘This is our roots, this is where we came from. We're never going to forget the sacrifices you gave for us, along with what Italy has done for us and our sense of culture.’”
Just because the restaurant was inspired by traditional cooking doesn’t mean it lacks Maggiore’s sense of whimsy. The Sicilian Butcher has 5-foot charcuterie boards, live pasta-making, and fun cocktails.
The casual-dining brand is also poised for growth. With an investment from Savory Fund in 2022, The Sicilian Butcher has the backing of one of the industry’s hottest private-equity groups behind it. That’s something Maggiore is used to; Hash Kitchen got investment from Savory Fund in 2021.
“I would tease them, ‘Where's your checkbook? Are you ready? Let's make this one a national name,’” Maggiore said he would tell Savory Fund managing partners Andrew K. Smith and Greg Warnock.
The men are gathering their forces for growth, including five more restaurants in the next two years.
“[Smith and Warnock] are like the Nike swish; they get on a brand, and they go [off],” Maggiore said. “So being a part of it, we're going to hold on, put our seatbelt on and we're going to bring this one around the nation.”
As for the planned locations, nothing is set in stone, but Maggiore wants to stick to places that aren’t typically known for Italian food, like Arizona.
“When my father came to Arizona in 1977, he said he taught Geronimo how to eat spaghetti,” Maggiore said. “So we're going to go in all these fish-out-of-water places and teach them true Italian food.”
That Italian food is traditional at its core, with fresh house-made pasta and daily fresh-made sheep’s milk ricotta, along with a cannoli bar.
The menu had to be simplified once Savory came on board because Maggiore wants the food prepared properly every time, especially when he can’t be in the kitchen.
“That's something as a chef that I can't allow to happen,” he said. “These are family recipes, and I can't allow it.”
Driven by family and for family, Maggiore said that the restaurant will feel like a meal at a family member’s home.
“Arms open,” he said of how guests will be treated.
Contact Holly Petre at [email protected]