Soul Chef Joey Maggiore – It’s all about the smiles!
The Chef: Joey Maggiore
The Place: Hash Kitchen
The Conversation: Stellar
The Sponsor: Bites.
By: Erik Merkow
I had the pleasure of sitting down with restaurateur and chef Joey Maggiore of Hash Kitchen for a delicious discussion on food, family, and business. Joey is one of THE nicest and most sincere chefs/restaurateurs we’ve ever had the pleasure to chat with. He exudes a love for life, a passion for people and a fixation on food that’s all apparent with who he surrounds himself with and his delivery of some of the most incredible dishes in town.
The Beginning – Pots, Pans and Knives
Joey admits when he was young, growing up in the Bronx, you wouldn’t find him on the streets playing football, stickball, tag or anything else that didn’t have the hatchlings of where he is today. As expected, Joey and his sister would typically be found playing with his Nana’s pots, pans and knives in different areas of the house. I can only imagine the games and creations that took place with the toys that would be a foundation for where he is today!
The Roots – “Run!”
Joey’s dad Thomaso came to this country from Sicily back in the early 60’s. He did so with $100 in his pocket and without knowing how to speak the language. After their dad passed away, and very little work in Sicily, Thomaso and his brother journeyed to America to support the family. The boys arrived without a passport and a simple plan….run! They literally ran towards the American dream! Needless to say, that strategy didn’t work out. The brothers were deported twice! With determination, they eventually got their paperwork in order and came for good. The two found jobs, Thomaso at a restaurant in Manhattan and Joey’s uncle became a shoemaker. After 4 months, they saved enough money to open their very own 800 square foot pizzeria in NYC. Pizzanos Pizzeria, where they were making up to 400 pizzas a day and truly living the American dream. With being incredibly busy, they could barely keep up with making enough boxes for the pizzas that were being ordered. Meanwhile, a good friend suggested that they needed to check out Phoenix, Arizona. They followed that advice to discover there weren’t any true Italian restaurants in the city. Thomaso fell in love with and moved to Arizona, where Joey remembers his dad telling people he taught Geronimo how to eat spaghetti! The rest became the wonderful history of the Maggiores in Arizona. To this day, Thomaso can be found every morning making the sauces for all of the Thomaso restaurants throughout the valley.
The Favs – Chicken
“What’s your favorite dish at Hash Kitchen?” The Chicken Hash, fried potatoes, poached eggs and hollandaise. That and the Chicken Benedict, but (said with a big smile) after eating that every day, he needs to find something else. I became curious to know what was one of his favorite dishes in town and which chefs inspired him. He had recently been to Matt Carters, The Fat Ox and fell in the with the appetizer Bellwether Farms Ricotta with prosciutto, trumpet mushroom, hazelnut, honey, noble bread (I think that will have to be part of the 212 Hottest Dishes List). Joey fell in love with the flavor profile! Gio Osso and Mark Tarbell are a few of Joey’s favorite chefs locally and Thomas Keller. But even more so, he’s inspired by restaurateurs, Sam Fox and Fox Concepts here in Arizona. He also loves what Mario Batali has done (especially) with Eataly in NYC where he tries to go at least once a year.
The Business – Italian Revolution
Throughout the conversation, it became very clear to me, Joey’s passion truly revolves around the business and being a restaurateur. His goal is to acquire 10 units (restaurants) with Hash Kitchen. He currently has five planed in Arizona; Gainey Ranch Village, North Scottsdale, Arcadia (this Fall), and Phoenix (this Fall). The Phoenix location will have the first ever mimosa bar unlike anything in the country. My guess is Joey wants to top the insane Bloody Mary bar he has already perfected! Next, he’s interested in penetrating the Texas market where he’s looking to open a place in Plano, Texas. He plans to have a restaurant group that is expanding and growing with new and exciting concepts. One that Joey shared, literally gave me goosebumps! “Italian Revolution” in Las Vegas which is an Italian style Benihanas, where your meal will be cooked right in front of you. Looks like my next trip to Las Vegas will be to attend the opening!
The Team – People with Personality
“I grew up not caring what anyone thinks.”. Joey gets it! In sales, you want people who have personality, are outgoing, someone who knows how to connect with people. He sees that same thing for his restaurants. “If Bonnie wants to dance with customers, I love it!”. Joey interviews everybody and makes the final decision on the hire…and it’s so evident. He’ll always check with the previous employer to make sure the candidate has never just walked out on his or her job. His staff is fun, outgoing, kind, and always smiling. The purpose is to make his customers happy and when your employees are happy, your customers are happy! This was one of Herb Kelleher’s philosophy’s at Southwest Airlines (and you can’t argue with their growth). And honestly, it’s just who Joey is!
Joey Maggiore…son…father….husband…chef…visionary…and restauranteur. With a smile that will light up a small city and the passion to make the culinary world shine! Even bigger things are coming for this amazing guy! “It’s all about the smiles!” – Joey
eat + drink + share
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