By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Chef/restaurateur Joey Maggiore loves to keep things light at his Valley eateries.
Hash Kitchen’s DJ spins tunes to keep the mood upbeat and, presumably, to awake the guests.
The bustling Sicilian Butcher is filled with conversation — first dates, parents meeting their children’s suitors for the first time, and celebratory birthday parties.
The Italian Daughter’s muted atmosphere is perfect for date night.
Tucked in a corner of The Sicilian Butcher’s menu, however, is an ode to the chef/restaurateur’s late father, legendary Valley chef Tomaso Maggiore.
“Dedicated to my father and idol, master chef Tomaso Maggiore. His passion for the restaurant business, cooking and Sicily are the reasons we opened The Sicilian Butcher. Your legacy will always stay strong through me. Love you pops. Chef Joey.”
He helms The Maggiore Group, a family-owned and -operated restaurant group based in the Scottsdale Airpark.
The Maggiore family opened its first restaurant, Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant, on the Camelback Corridor in 1977. Today, The Maggiore Group’s restaurants in Phoenix and San Diego include Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen Carlsbad, Hash Kitchen and The Sicilian Butcher.
Maggiore owes his father a debt of gratitude for introducing him to the world of food.
“I say it all the time,” he says. “I didn’t really have the choice. Being the son of Tomaso, as a little boy, that’s all I ever wanted to do.
“He would tell me, ‘There’s nothing better than a small restaurant that’s full, than a large restaurant that isn’t full. You have to figure out how to keep your restaurant full.’”
He does so by imbibing in social media, attacking the audience instead of waiting for them to show up.
“We have to go out and get them,” he says. “How do you bring them into the restaurant? We build Instagram-worthy spots. We have amazing chefs. What sets us apart is we bring the ‘wow’ factor, the fun and the excitement with each outing.”
Hash Kitchen’s DJs play a plethora of music ranging from Motown to disco to pop.
“It makes it fun,” says Maggiore, who co-founded the restaurant with his wife, Cristina, and partner Flora Tersigni. “It’s not just a boring breakfast. It makes you have a good breakfast.”
In April, Hash Kitchen was named the 2022 breakout brand by Nation’s Restaurant News. The annual list recognizes notable emerging restaurants, ranging from fast-casual brunch to vegan tacos, poised for growth through innovative menus, new brand propositions and the ability to adapt and thrive through the pandemic.
Maggiore chalks that up to the build-your-own bloody mary bar and culinary remixes on breakfast classics.
With the rising popularity of the brunch-party restaurant, Hash Kitchen took its first step to rapid expansion in November 2021 with a $20 million investment from Savory Fund.
Since the initial investment, Hash Kitchen is slated to open two this year — one at Gilbert’s Verde at Cooley Station and another in Peoria’s P83 entertainment, shopping and dining district.
Plans for significant local and national growth are on the horizon; Maggiore is hoping to open 24 new locations by the end of 2024.
“Hash Kitchen, like so many others, faced significant hurdles during the pandemic, but it was a great opportunity to understand our visions and goals for growth,” Maggiore says.
“We used that time to consider next steps, new partnerships, new innovations and new technologies to leverage for smoother operations — seeing these plans begin to unfold now makes us more excited for the future of Hash Kitchen.”
That isn’t the only expansion. He’s looking at leases for Sicilian Butchers in three states, while The Mexicano will stretch out to two more in the Valley.
Maggiore will soon launch new concepts, but the names have yet to be finalized. He hinted that it’s a rotisserie-style concept with “a fun bar with an Italian accent.”
In Scottsdale, he’ll open a “refined” Italian eatery that blends Tomaso and Sicilian Butcher.
As a first-generation American, Maggiore calls himself the “black sheep” of the family. His sister and father stuck with traditional meals, while he toyed with his dishes.
“I played with our heritage,” he says. “I love my bloodline as well, but I like to be creative. I’ve never been a four-wall type of guy. It’s how to build the newest thing. There are so many Italian concepts. I’m always thinking about the next cuisine and how far I can take my skills.”
The Mexicano by The Maggiore Group brings a day-to-night dining experience to Phoenix with elevated, reimagined Mexican cuisine; a premium spirit selection; made-to-order cocktails; an expansive build-your-own Michelada bar; and a vibrant social ambiance.
There, Maggiore says he’s a “sucker for the lamb fajitas.”
“You can’t go wrong there,” he says with a laugh.
To run all of his restaurants, Maggiore is often jokingly asked if he sleeps. Yes, he does; however, his mind is still in business mode.
“Before I sleep at night, I lie in bed and think, ‘How can I make that cool? How can I do this differently?’ That’s when the ideas come alive.
“Sometimes I come up with a name and I build a concept around it. The new concept I mentioned is out-of-the-box nuts. People are going to say, ‘Oh, my God. No way. What did this guy just do?’”