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 Italian word for “district” or “neighborhood." According to co-owner Erick Geryol, Quartiere will aspire to retain Riazzi’s neighborhood spirit while “polishing up and modernizing what Riazzi’s was doing.” That said, the menu itself won’t stray far from comfortable Italian-American classics.
Geryol grew up cooking in “red sauce joints” in the Midwest in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Today, he has a hand in three other Valley restaurants (Boulders on Broadway, Boulders on Southern, and Spokes on Southern). Do not expect outlandish pastas and little-known preparations at Quartiere. These have become increasingly common at many Italian and Italian-inflected restaurants new to the Valley. But Geryol and his team plan to focus on staples like bolognese, marsala, and alfredo, along with hearty sandwiches and antipasto.
Some pasta, such as ravioli, will be made from scratch in-house. The menu will be “produce-heavy,” and most of it will be sourced from farms in the Southwest. Pork cuts like chops, ribs, and tenderloin will come from Colorado, and a few specialty pork products, such as pancetta, will be sourced from Italy. Like so many restaurants today, Quartiere will also feature a burger; his will use Arizona beef.
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Geryol plans to transform the old space. Inside, he wants to bring in community tables, new lighting, and more modern art for a fresher vibe. He plans to revive the outdoor seating area, a space he didn't see in use at all when he visited the restaurant, before he had put in a bid on the space. He envisions diners on that patio enjoying bruschetta and wine.
As for cocktails, Geryol and his team are developing those now, but he can say that they plan to feature Italian ingredients in their signature sips.