First Taste

First Taste: It's Family First at The Italian Daughter

The Italian Daughter is about ambiance indoors, as well as outdoors.
The Italian Daughter is about ambiance indoors, as well as outdoors. The Italian Daughter
You'll immediately sense the friendly energy when you walk into The Italian Daughter. The hostess and wait staff are welcoming, and even with the wait, there is plenty of people watching — couples huddled together in the corner, a set of friends enjoying appetizers and wines, and families laughing over bowls of pasta and house bread. The vibe is comforting and cheerful, and the cuisine delivers on taste and flavor.

This energy isn't accidental. According to owner Melissa Maggiore Meyer, daughter of the late Tomaso Maggiore, founder of Tomaso's Italian Restaurant, there is a texture to the infectiousness of the restaurant.

"I try to do everything as traditionally as I can with just a little elevation or just with my own flare," says Maggiore Meyer. It's an homage to how I grew up."

And that tribute to how she grew up includes honoring her father, who died in January 2021.

click to enlarge Melissa Maggiore Meyer aims to create a family feel at The Italian Daughter. - THE ITALIAN DAUGHTER
Melissa Maggiore Meyer aims to create a family feel at The Italian Daughter.
The Italian Daughter

"I was very close to my father," she says. "He was not only my father but my best friend, and we worked together our whole life."

Her father never witnessed the opening of The Italian Daughter. She confesses as she watched her father battle his illness, "I started thinking about all the things I was left with because I was about to lose him. And I just woke up one day, and I was like, I'm my dad's daughter. I am an Italian daughter."

click to enlarge Owner Melissa Maggiore Meyer with her father the late Tomaso Maggiore, founder of Tomaso's Italian Restaurant. - THE ITALIAN DAUGHTER
Owner Melissa Maggiore Meyer with her father the late Tomaso Maggiore, founder of Tomaso's Italian Restaurant.
The Italian Daughter

That's how the restaurant's name was born, and she told her brother and father about it, and they loved "The Italian Restaurant." Maggiore Meyer added her own touch with the logo. Not only does she love the restaurant business, but she also is a shoe fanatic. She paired the name with the boot of Italy with a big heel on it.

This tribute to Italy has another backstory to it. Maggiore Meyer wanted to make sure the patrons of The Italian Daughter felt like they were at home in her restaurant.

"Our customers are like our family," she says. "We see the same customers multiple times a week. ... I'm continuing my father's spirit. My father's favorite thing in the world was cooking for his patrons, who he called friends, and making something special and going off the menu and growing with his clientele. I want to do the same thing."

The menu matches the vibe of the restaurant. The wait staff is amicable and accommodating. The house bread is warm and fresh, and the butter slathered on the slices is a comforting balm. The wine menu is extensive with specialty cocktails like a white fig cosmopolitan that includes Figenza fig vodka, triple sec, white cranberry, and lime.

The libations highlight the pasta selections. And, The Italian Daughter takes its pasta seriously. Choose from spaghetti carbonara, penne vodka with salmon, rigatoni with meatballs, and more. Most of the pasta is made in-house. She says, though, some don't prefer homemade pasta since it has a different consistency. Tomaso's spaghetti Pichiuu Pachiu has subtle hints of tomato and garlic, as well as olive oil. The blend works well, and the ingredients don't overpower each other.

click to enlarge The menu highlights many Italian favorites. - THE ITALIAN DAUGHTER
The menu highlights many Italian favorites.
The Italian Daughter

It isn't just about the pasta, though. Other highlights include braised Veal Osso Buco, chicken parmigiana, eggplant torte, and gnocchi pesto. For those craving pizzas, stone-fired pies are available.

The dessert menu features cannolis, tiramisu, and a Nutella pizza. It's a dining experience at The Italian Daughter — from the moment you sit down to finishing that last bite of dessert.

Maggiore Meyer wants her patrons to feel comfortable.

"If somebody wants something they don't see in my menu, and I have the power to make it, I am happy to do it for them," says Maggiore Meyer. "I'm really excited to be a part of the community in North Scottsdale and want people to think of us as their little neighborhood restaurant where we're like a family."

The Italian Daughter
23687 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Sunday through Thursday, 3-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 3-11 p.m.
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Rudri Patel is a lawyer turned writer and editor. She is the co-editor of the online literary journal The Sunlight Press and on staff at Literary Mama.
Contact: Rudri Patel