Joey Maggiore, owner and executive chef of Mexicano, has been cooking since he was little. The restaurants of the Maggiore group, including The Sicilian Butcher and The Italian Daughter (owned by his sister, Melissa Maggiore Meyer) bear witness to this passion.
But now Joey is making a foray into Mexican cuisine via Paradise Valley. Its new restaurant, The Mexicano, will open at 4 p.m. on December 9. There will be margaritas in candy-filled Mexican piñatas, a Michelada bar, and 3-foot-long masa quesadillas to kick off the Mexico-inspired concept.
“In the kitchens, I always cooked with Latinos, Mexicans, and we always spent our meals eating Mexican food,” says Maggiore. “So my favorite meal besides Italian is Mexican. ”
Over the years, he has mingled with his Latin friends by eating “spectacular food” at family reunions and vacations. The Maggiore, whose founding chef of the Italian restaurant in Tomaso, Tomaso Maggiore, who died in January, have long cherished the idea of opening a Mexican restaurant. So when the building that once housed the Salty Sow became available, Joey decided to pull the trigger.
Joey’s wife Cristina Maggiore helped design the indoor and outdoor spaces at The Mexicano, which are as vibrant as the oversized piñata that faces his DJ booth: think patterned tiles, a wall of agave and oversized Mexican wall art. The restaurant can accommodate 500 people, including a large patio with 300 seats.
For food, try the machetes, 3-foot-long corn masa quesadillas served with chicken tinga, agave chipotle shrimp, braised short ribs, or zucchini blossoms – Joey’s favorite. They come with scissors for you to share. Then try the Smokin ‘Ceviche presented in a coconut shell, or the lava stone fajitas served over sizzling lava rocks. Or opt for Mexican classics like elote topped with chipotle cream, chicken enchiladas topped with salsa verde and an assortment of tacos.
It’s a social space and the build-your-own Michelada Bar reflects that, with infused tequila, Mexican draft beer, and over 40 toppings, like Tamarindo sticks, oysters, and a shrimp cocktail. (An ode to the BYO Bloody Mary bar at the restaurant group’s Hash Kitchen? We think so.) Flights of frozen margarita are also on the menu, along with tequila mucho and mezcal.
4801 East Cactus Road
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.