Babbo Italian Eatery: Family Yummy!
“Babbo”: That’s “daddy” in Italian.
In the language of food, the Babbo Italian Eatery restaurants mean classic and contemporary dishes, with a focus on innovative cuisine in a family-friendly atmosphere.
Based in Scottsdale, the family-owned company has eight locations Valleywide: Glendale, Queen Creek, Cave Creek, Mesa, Surprise, Phoenix, Tempe and, the most recent, in Scottsdale, Talking Stick and Pima roads. The ninth will open early 2019 in Goodyear.
Designed by architect Jose Martinez at Form Design Studio, the 6,000-square-foot Scottsdale restaurant is adjacent to Talking Stick Fields, where Russo & Steele holds its annual January car auction.
Accommodating 236 guests, the new Babbo Italian Eatery features dark blue booths, family seating, a private dining room and a full bar. For its grand opening April 19, the restaurant raised and matched toward $43,000 for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Salt River Community Children’s Foundation.
Owner Ken Pollack is “Babbo” here. He and wife Charlotte opened the first restaurant in Arrowhead in Glendale in 2002, and just celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2017. They are assisted by their four children: Brandon, Josh, Ryan and Taylor.
“The idea of family is central to everything we do,” says Pollack, a Scottsdale resident. “Our staff functions as the heart of our restaurant, and we are committed to providing each guest with a personalized, high-quality experience where you will surely leave feeling like one of the family.” The restaurants employ approximately 500 Valleywide.
Each restaurant features extensive identical menus, including the signature fresh-from-the oven focaccia, which is brought to your table when you are seated. The Neapolitan-style pizzas are available in 10- or 12-inch sizes such as the Sicilian, with Italian sausage, ham, salami and Mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and the Sweet Roasted Pear and Grape, with walnuts, mozzarella and a balsamic glaze.
More than 25 different pastas are on the menu. Choose from a basic Alfredo Supremo over linguine, with white wine and Parmesan, through a Babbo’s Bowl O’ Bolognese, including garlic and Romano on spaghettini, to a Spicy Alfredo with Italian sausage in a creamy garlic sauce on fusilli.
Among the newest items are the Bruschetta Trio and the Protein Bowls. Pick any three of the bruschetta offerings, such as Roasted Bell Pepper & Goat Cheese and Fig & Prosciutto topped with arugula. The bowls are offered with a choice of chicken, flat iron steak, shrimp and salmon, on a bed that includes brown rice, red quinoa, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini and a spicy honey chili glaze.
You can order traditional spaghetti and meatballs, of course. On Monday and Tuesdays, in fact, all day it’s yours for $6.99 a plate, dine in or call ahead for take-out.
On tap are a variety of small-brewery beers, including locals such as San Tan Epicenter, Huss Brewery Scottsdale Blonde and Four Peaks Kiltlifter. At every location, the bartender/mixologist can craft most cocktail requests.
Executive Chef Mariel Ocegueda oversees all of the restaurants, each of which has a chef de cuisine.
“I put my heart into all of the restaurants, to make the most of every plate we create,” she says. “I work with the most humble people, and the dishes we make really come from our hearts, and you can taste that in the food.
“I love to learn new things every day and I love to be creative and artistic with the food I make,” she adds. “I love my family and my daughters. They are what gives me passion and strength to be the chef I am today.”
Babbo Italian Eatery: That also means mommy, family and friends.
To learn more or find the best location for you, please visit babboitalian.com.