New in Cave Creek: Amaro Pizzeria & Vino Lounge

That's the concept from two hospitality pros --alumni from Kazimierz World Wine Bar and Estate House -- who are making their mark on the dining scene in the North Valley with the opening of their new restaurant, Amaro Pizzeria & Vino Lounge.

Owners Frank Vairo and Tagan Dering launched the biz a week and a half ago, serving a classic menu of antipasti (there's a charcuterie and mozzarella bar!), wood-fired pizzas, entrees and more, created with the help of chef Bernie Kantak, who was a consultant on the venture.

Don't be surprised to see a familiar dish from Kantak's old stomping grounds, Cowboy Ciao. Here, his famous chopped salad of smoked salmon, dried sweet corn, black currents, pepitas, asiago cheese, couscous, tomatoes, arugula, and pesto buttermilk dressing is called the Kantak Chop.

Pizza toppings are simple and rustic, including prosciutto with mozzarella and parmesan, or spinach with mozzarella, parmesan, oven-dried tomatoes, and roasted garlic. I'm eyeing a white pizza called Dolce Arrabiatta, covered in mozzarella, Taleggio, caramelized onions, sweet and spicy Italian sausage, and Calabrian chiles.

There's also fresh fettuccine with seafood, a mustard and maple-glazed cedar plank pork chop, chicken parmesan, and salmon almondine. Affordable wines are available by the glass, bottle or flight.

Amaro is located at 28234 N. Tatum Blvd. in Cave Creek. Business hours are 4 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 4 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Daily happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Call 480-502-1920 for details.


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