Chef Joey Maggiore creates diverse Valley dining experiences; continues his family legacy
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s hard to find someone with more enthusiasm and excitement than Joey Maggiore when it comes to being a chef and restauranteur. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since Joey is the son of Valley chef icon, Tomaso Maggiore.
Like Father, Like Son
For years, Joey grew up in the kitchen learning from his Sicilian-born father, who was a fixture of the Valley’s culinary scene for more than four decades. As the son of a master chef, it makes sense why Maggiore would follow in the footsteps of his father.
“As a little boy, normal kids play with cars, I ended up playing with knives and tomatoes, so, I didn’t have a choice to be a chef. But as I got older, being in the kitchen I fell in love with what his passion was, making people excited about what you produce,” Maggiore said.
Maggiore explained that while growing up, his father, Tomaso, was his idol. Maggiore says, in a way, for him to become a chef was to be like his idol. And while what it means to be a chef has evolved throughout his career, Maggiore says his current stage brings him back to his roots.
“It really brings me back to how I was raised, my Italian roots. When I cook a dish and I taste or I smell something, it reminds me of my grandma or my dad, and it really brings me back to where I wish I was,” Maggiore explained. “So I think being a chef is really taking your memories, putting them on a plate, and sharing your memories with a guest.”
The Maggiore Family
The Maggiore family opened their first restaurant, Tomaso’s, at 32nd Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix in 1977. Since then, Joey and his family have expanded the Maggiore legacy by developing diverse restaurant concepts around the Valley. The family umbrella for their restaurants, The Maggiore Group, hosts Joey’s creative and popular brunch chain Hash Kitchen, a meatball and butcher-inspired restaurant at The Sicilian Butcher, a create-your-own cannoli concept at Sicilian Bakery, and his latest endeavor, a Mexican cuisine-driven experience at The Mexicano. Joey’s sister, Melissa, also runs The Italian Daughter in north Scottsdale. Cooking and opening rememberable restaurants runs in this family!
Whether it’s giving brunch-goers a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at Hash Kitchen, innovative drinks and meals at The Mexicano (which also features a build-your-own Michelada bar), to Italian fine dining, Maggiore has spared no expense at finding unique ways to give his guests great dining experiences and options.
“I always try to keep it fresh, new, exciting. You know, stagnant business becomes stagnant chef, it becomes old and tiring. I like to be fresh and Instagram-worthy, very social media-driven as the world has gone now. So, whatever I do, instead of a plate, put it on a Ferris wheel! Why not? Meatballs are great, have a little nostalgia with it!” Maggiore said.
Maggiore’s passion as a chef and restauranter makes him a culinary wizard, consistently evolving ideas and food tropes to provide a lively atmosphere with delectable and captivating dishes. Maggiore takes the presentation to a whole new level with several menu items at most of his restaurants, from the meatball ferris wheel (seen above) to flambeed Italian Saganaki tableside, Sicilian family platters served on 5-foot boards and even a dessert board!
Aside from the mouthwatering food itself, the presentation and fun of these items lift and enhance the dining experience for everyone. Maggiore often has DJs playing at Hash Kitchen, and sometimes The Mexicano to boost those dining vibes to the next level. Whether you’re on a date, having dinner with friends, or celebrating a special occasion with a group, plenty of laughs and enjoyment will be shared with the sense of togetherness that emanates from Maggiore’s restaurants. This ambiance that Maggiore strives to maintain at his restaurants comes from his sheer love for what he does on a day-to-day basis.
“I love coming to work. People call it work, I call it home. I walk into the restaurant every morning, grab an espresso, come in and kind of create the day, create a new concept, a new dish. For me, there’s an excitement to get up every day and come do this,” Maggiore said. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Maggiore hinted about two new upcoming concepts, one of which he says will be a step up from The Mexicano!
If you haven’t been to a Maggiore restaurant, you have quite a few diverse concepts to consider checking out. The Maggiore family has become a staple of the Valley culinary scene, and it’s clear that Joey’s passion for creating and producing quality concepts and foods for guests continues to drive The Maggiore Group to new heights. Regardless of which restaurant you visit, the Maggiore sense of family permeates throughout and welcomes you with warmth, sensational home-cooked recipes, and pride.
This is the eleventh segment in a breakout series on chefs in the Phoenix metro. Arizona’s Family Foodie is sitting down with chefs around the Valley to tell their stories of triumphs, perseverance, and dedication to their crafts. There is a sizeable amount of work, research, and experimentation that culminates into what gets placed in front of you on a plate or in a drink. These are the stories of the creative minds behind those delicious meals or cocktails, and how their passions for food and beverage bring us joy and closer together.
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