Chef Tom D'Ambrosio made a name for Aioli Burger throughout the Valley as a food truck powerhouse, over the years growing the business to three trucks and a sister concept called Modern Tortilla.
Now, D'Ambrosio and his two business partners are putting down roots, with plans for a brick-and-mortar Aioli Burger location to open by the end of October. The restaurant will be located in an 1,800-square foot space on the northwest corner of 32nd Street and Shea Boulevard, in the north Phoenix neighborhood where the trio grew up. The restaurant will take the place of a now-closed gyro restaurant and hookah lounge.
The new location will be more than a static version of the food truck, however. It will offer an expanded menu, including a charcuterie board, farm veggies, shakes and floats, and even some dishes designed for canine companions, D'Ambrosio says. A liquor license is in the works as well.
Kyle Hollenbeck, the public-relations third of the group, says the owners are going for more of a fast-casual vibe with the new restaurant, a feel reminiscent of Hopdoddy Burger Bar. There will be televisions on the walls, he says, and the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and until 10 p.m. on the weekends. The restaurant will also make use of a patio space left over from the previous occupant.
Hollenbeck says the partners initially considered opening a restaurant in central Phoenix, but changed their minds due to both their connection to the neighborhood and what he sees as its untapped potential.
"I really think we're getting ahead of the curve on this one," he says.
Aioli Burger's three trucks will stay operational, though the amount of public appearances will likely decrease in favor of private events and catering opportunities.
Long-term, Hollenbeck says the partners are looking into the possibility of acquiring a space next door to open up a Modern Tortilla restaurant.
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