Quartiere has opened in the Tempe space once home to neighborhood standby Riazzi's Italian Garden. The new restaurant has been simmering Bolognese and cutting fresh pasta since last Tuesday. Owner Erick Geryol says that Quartiere aims to update the old breed of Italian that Riazzi’s was cooking.
Geryol has a hand in three other Valley restaurants. They are Boulders on Broadway, Boulders on Southern, and Spokes on Southern. He renovated the Riazzi's space pretty heavily, adding tables, chairs, heaters, and landscaping to the patio. He also put its fireplace into use.
Quartiere's menu hews close to Italian classics, taking a few steps in a progressive direction. Dry pastas come from northern Italy. Fresh pastas (pappardelle and ravioli) are made by hand in house.
Menu highlights include a somewhat classic Bolognese. The slow-simmered sauce is built on sausage, beef from an Arizona provider, imported pancetta and prosciutto, and chicken livers. Quartiere braises short ribs in a sauce with cherries and bourbon. The kitchen cooks branzino in parchment with potatoes, asparagus, butter, herbs, and white wine.
The cocktail menu takes cues from Italy but isn't afraid to depart from tradition. Mixologists build drinks from the likes of Campari, walnut and fennel liqueur, and fig vodka.
Brunch will be coming later this month.
Quartiere retained just one employee from Riazzi's, a bartender. Geryol says that a few Riazzi's regulars have checked out the new space and given him positive feedback. Of his new restaurant, he says, "It has some of that romantic feel of what a neighborhood restaurant should have that has been around for decades."
Quartiere. 2700 South Mill Avenue, Tempe. 480-731-9464
Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.