Good news for Franco-philes: Franco Fazzuoli -- formerly of Franco's Trattoria in Scottsdale and later, Franco's Italian Caffé in Phoenix -- has recently moved back to town and plans to open a new Franco's Italian Caffé later this month in Scottsdale.
Fazzuoli is taking over the small but charming restaurant space that housed Bravo Bistro at 4327 N. Scottsdale Road in Old Town for the past 18 years. Bravo Bistro closed about two weeks ago (go to bravobistro.com to see their goodby message) and Fazzuoli is planning for a soft opening around October 19th.
The space is being completely refurbished and Fazzuoli promises that once his new tables and chairs have come in, the ambiance will be casual and table cloth-free.
Meanwhile, the menu will feature many of the familiar favorites we remember from the past, including pasta, chicken paillard, veal chop with mushrooms and demi-glace, bistecca fiorentina, tiramisu and Governor's chocolate cake (you do remember Fyfe as pastry chef, don't you?). Fazzuoli plans to offer daily specials such as burrata with prosciutto, pappardalle with wild boar ragu, risotto with lobster, mushrooms and zucchini and daily changing fish such as branzino and turbot.
Fazzuoli was famous for his Italian wine list, which included memorable Super Tuscans, and he plans to grow it again, starting out with a smaller selection focusing on Italy and California until he's more established.
Interestingly, there's even more continuity than you'd imagine. His partners from the former Franco's Italian Caffé are his partners in this venture too, and his chef Steve Martin (not the wild and crazy guy) has followed him from Scottsdale to Phoenix to New York and back to Scottsdale again. Marriages don't last as long as the 26 years Fazzuoli and Martin have put in together.
Fazzuoli operated Franco's Trattoria in Scottsdale for nearly 14 years before moving to larger digs in The Esplanade in 2003. When his daughters -- dancers who followed in their mother's ballet shoes -- wanted to be in New York to study and practice ballet, Fazzuoli closed up shop in 2006 and moved back to New York so that they could pursue their careers. He opened a restaurant in the West Village called Trattoria Toscana, which earned him the same rave reviews he got here. Now his youngest daughter has graduated the School of American Ballet, and the family has moved back to Phoenix.
I'm guessing the food will be just as good as ever. Like his family, Fazzuoli stays on his toes.