100 Tastemakers in Phoenix

Gio Osso of Virtu and Nico on Yelpers, Fish Tacos, and Loving Chocolate

From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.

Today, a chef who really likes chocolate. 

77. Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft and Nico Heirloom Kitchen 

Tucked inside the boutique bed and breakfast the Bespoke Inn, chef Gio Osso's Virtu Honest Craft has earned an impressive number of accolades since its opening in 2013. In addition to being named of the  “Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire Magazine, the 25-seat eatery also was named a semifinalist for the “Best New Restaurant” James Beard award in 2014. 

But Osso's reputation in the Valley proceeds even Virtu's success. Originally from New Jersey, Osso has called Arizona home for more than a decade and has logged time at several nationally recognized Valley restaurants including the now-defunct Estate House. The chef, who's spent considerable time in Italy, is best known for crafting cuisine that's inspired by both his Mediterranean roots and global influences. Recently, he opened his second restaurant, Nico, in downtown Gilbert. Named for his son, the restaurant offers high-quality Italian fare in a more casual, neighborhood setting. 

Now, Osso dishes on the best-kept secret in fish tacos and his restaurant pet peeve. 

My go-to place for barbecue in Phoenix is Little Miss BBQ.

The best kept secret in Phoenix is SoCal Fish Taco Company in Gilbert. 

My favorite thing to eat as a child was chocolate, and today I like, more like LOVE, chocolate. 

My restaurant pet peeve is people who write restaurant reviews on social media as if they were writing for the New York Times

My culinary guilty pleasure is — refer back to question three, CHOCOLATE! 

The 2016 Tastemakers so far: 

100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour 
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant 
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo 
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
86. Tim and Kim Cobb of United Lunchadores Street Gourmet
85. Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails 
84. Paola Embry of Christopher's + Crush and The Wrigley Mansion
83. Jared Porter of The Clever Koi
82. Diane Corieri of Evening Entertainment Group
81. Erich Schultz of Steadfast Farm Shares His Go-To Place For Beer That Tastes "Like Arizona"
80. Jeff and Leah Huss of Huss Brewing Company
79. Aaron Pool of Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup
78. Diana Santospago of The Maine Lobster Lady food truck

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria