Chef Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft in Scottsdale plans to open a second restaurant in downtown Gilbert later this year. Named Nico, after his son, the restaurant will serve "West Coast-inspired food" that's influenced by Osso's Italian background. The concept is still a work in progress, but Osso says he's excited to bring something new to the Valley.
"I think it's going to be really, really cool," Osso says. As for the namesake? "I mean, he's so into the restaurant business, might as well get him started early."
The chef doesn't expect his sophomore restaurant to be open until the fall, and given the timing, a second restaurant will be quite an undertaking. Osso and his wife, Bethany, expect a second child in the next six weeks, and on Thursday, Osso's chef de cuisine, Samantha Sanz, gave notice that she will be leaving the restaurant. Sanz, who had been at Virtu since just after the restaurant's opening in 2013, served as Osso's right hand and sous chef until recently being promoted to chef de cuisine.
Nevertheless, Osso says he feels it's time for a second spot.
"Virtu is streaming along and, you know, it’s time to expand ," he says. "I don't want to compare myself to anyone else, but I see everyone expanding, and I have more to offer than just what Virtu is."
Osso, who lives in Gilbert, says opening this venture in the East Valley was a natural choice. He looks forward to "cooking for his neighbors," and he wants the restaurant to be a family-friendly, more neighborhood type of place. It will be located at the newly built Heritage Marketplace alongside restaurants including Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles, Pomo Pizzeria, and Sam Fox's Zinburger.
"It's gonna be the place you can go for a date night, an anniversary, a birthday, but also family-friendly," he says. "[An] all-encompassing type place."
Osso doesn't have many specifics to share right now, but the restaurant will serve lunch, dinner, and brunch and aims to be open sometime in November.
For updates check the Nico restaurant website.