Ever wanted to have a taste of a world free of multiple sclerosis?
Well, the MS Society is giving us all a chance to help in funding the fight with its annual Cooks & Chords event on Saturday, September 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic located at 13400 E. Shea Blvd. in Scottsdale.
Leading up to the event, the many local participating restaurants were nice enough to let the Scottsdale Wine Examiner pick their sommeliers’ brains.
Today – we are pleased to have Joe Aiello from Aiello’s, who will be serving his famous Meatballs, Eggplant Rolatini and Arancini at the event, share his story.
Joe, tell us a little about you and your staff in the business:
I always had a passion for food and cooking. When I was a child, my grandmother, from Italy, would pull a chair to the counter, and I would assist in all our family meals learning all her secrets.
Although classically trained, my menu reflects the wonderful cooking of my grandparents in a true Calabrese style using only the finest in imported ingredients. I worked for many of the top restaurants in NYC for before deciding to open my own with my wife, where we had success for many years.
Eventually, we wanted a better quality of life for our children than what we could give them in the NYC so we brought them out to Phoenix, (one of our favorite places) to grow up. Both of us worked in high-level food/hospitality service and enjoyed the normal Corporate America hours while the kids were younger.
Four years ago we decided there was no better time to get back to our passion. We opened Aiello’s, a true East Coast Italian restaurant typical of what you would find in NYC but out here in Phoenix.
Our food is classically southern hearty Italian fare and appreciated especially by East Coasters and all the locals that we have won the hearts of. We just opened Aiello’s Salumeria, an Italian Deli and a mini version of Aiello’s on Central. The concept is quick serve casual with a mini version of the restaurant menu and Joe’s specials changing daily in the deli cases. Fresh roasted meats, Italian groceries and of course Isabelle’s bakery. We just got our liquor license and offer Italian wines & beer by the glass and are located on 7thstreet & Thunderbird on the SE corner.
How does the menu work with the wine – do you have a general list? Pairing suggestions? Change with the seasons? Focus only on one region?
We carry a list of about 80 wines, only from Italy, which cover most of the regions throughout.
There is something for everyone on the list, and we expose our guests who are not familiar with Italian wines to great new options instead of the typical grape varietals that they are so used to ordering. We are always happy to suggest pairings and suggestions and we have made our list comfortable for all to choose with just a few brief descriptors for each wine to help people not feel intimidated by unfamiliarity.
What is your personal favorite food/wine pairing at Aiello’s?
I would have say the Cavatelli with Sunday Gravy (my nana’s way) served with a Meatball and Italian Sausage is perfect with a glass of Villa Pillo’s Borgoforte. A full, rich & silky mini super Tuscan made from Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot. Delicious and a good value!
Why did your restaurant get involved in the fight against MS?
My cousin just recently died of MS at the age of 62. He was 18 when he was diagnosed with MS. We have always been big supporter of the MS Society, who helped Mike with his disease throughout his life.
Tell us about your favorite winery experience – in Arizona or not:
Well, my wife (you might say) is an Italian wine snob. Given her preference, she will drink nothing else. Many, many years ago, on our first weekend romantic getaway, we went to upstate NY and visited the Millbrook winery. Of course, the wine was not her favorite but the view of the from the balcony of the tasting room and then the walk through the vineyard to a couple of Adirondack chairs inviting us for a rest will always be a wonderful memory. Next time in Tuscany.
Where can readers learn more about you, your wine and your restaurant?
On our website at www.aiellositalianrestaurant.com or at the new Salumeria website at www.aiellositaliandeli.com.
Where can readers get tickets to the big event?
For event,ticket& sponsorshipinformation click here or call480-968-2488.