It has been an incredible four months for me as Phoenix New Times' food editor. This city is a treasure trove of inventive, chef-driven restaurants — both high-end and hole-in-the-wall. And working for a progressive publication like New Times has allowed me to explore the Valley food scene beyond high-profile restaurant openings and really dig in t...

The first time Marcellino Verzino cooked at the James Beard House in New York City was in 1998, long before he and his wife moved to Arizona to open a fine-dining Italian restaurant. Nearly two decades later, he is preparing for his second appearance at the prestigious brownstone once owned by culinary legend James Beard. Verzino, owner of Marcelli...

Double digit restaurant anniversary celebration in the Valley of Sun are uncommon to say the least. Make that a 20 year anniversary, in the same location, under the same owners, with the same chef and numerous original staff members, and you have the makings for a most unusual celebration. On October 13th Veneto Trattoria in Scottsdale celebrates t...

Had Italian-born Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino not made his way through this area (then a part of New Spain) in the late 1600s, there's a good chance Tucson might not be what it is today. Kino established 24 missions throughout the Southwest, including San Xavier and San Cosme y Damián, which would later become the presidio for the city...

Michael Elefante is the third generation of his family to operate Mama Louisa's near Craycroft and 29th Street. "It started in 1956 with the Casadei family and then my family bought it in 1973," Elefante said. "My grandpa and his business partner was from Brooklyn and they were down here visiting looking for land back in the day and came across thi...

At certain times of the day, the Esplanade — the mixed-used development near 24th Street and Camelback Road — can feel eerily desolate. The complex has been known to turn into a ghost town after business hours, and its sprawling, boxy design, anchored by soaring office towers, lends a gloomy air of impenetrability. From the street, it’s difficult t...

Tempe residents and lovers of a classic were saddened to learn that Riazzi’s Italian Garden, a Tempe Italian joint open for decades, will simmer red sauce no more. The restaurant has closed for good. But following a renovation of the former Riazzi's space, a new Italian eatery called Quartiere is scheduled to open later this fall. Quartiere is an I...

When you visit amazing cultural cities like Florence and Rome, there is a central theme displayed on almost every corner… real, authentic Italian gelato. Today, gelato shops have started popping up all across the United States but artisanal Italian gelato is still widely unknown in the U.S. compared to countries in Europe. Now, Gelato Festival is c...

From the outside, Little Italy Ristorante looks like just another restaurant, but step through the doors and you are immediately transported to a quaint corner restaurant in Italy. Violet Pedraza co-owns and operates the restaurant with Peter Cimino, a Sicilian living in Henderson, Nevada and Adam Talbert, who lives in Illinois. Cimino and Talbert...

We might be 6,000 miles from Italy, but with Roma Imports around the corner, the distance doesn’t feel as far. What originally started as a wholesale marketplace has blossomed into a grocery store, catering business, deli, and restaurant.  Owner Lilian Spieth was born in Calcutta and moved to Israel as a teenager. While on vacation in Scotland,...