Dina Zappone and her husband, Sal, own Zappone’s Italian Bistro, 1652 N. Higley Road, Gilbert. Reach the restaurant at (480) 218-2338 or ZapponesBistro.com.
Q: Tell us about your restaurant.
DZ: We’re a mom-and-pop traditional Italian restaurant. My husband is the chef, and I run the front. Both of our parents are from Italy, so we grew up with very traditional Italian recipes. We make our own bread fresh every day. We make all of fresh pasta, and we make all our own fresh pastries and Italian cheesecake.
I’ve been in the restaurant business for 32 years, and my husband has been in the business for 23 years. We both met in Las Vegas, working at the Mirage Hotel in the kitchens. We came out to Gilbert and wanted to open our own little neighborhood Italian restaurant since we live here and our kids go to school here. And now we’ve been here for a year and a half.
Q: What are some things your restaurant is known for?
DZ: We are known for our homemade bread and pasta. We give a unique experience in the neighborhood since there’s not too many places that are creating their own homemade raviolis and rustic loaves of bread.
We’re also known for our events. Once a year, we have a great wine dinner, and it’s always $30 for three courses and three wines. We also offer cooking classes once a month, also for $30. Those are a fun way to come in and learn Chef Sal’s recipes, learn how he makes his homemade pastas.
Q: Where do you like to eat out?
DZ: We don’t go eat Italian. So, we do like Mexican food. We go to El Palacio in Chandler a lot — (it’s) another family-owned restaurant. We also go to sN Asian Kitchen — family-owned by chef John Wong — right up the street in Mesa. Those are probably the two main spots we go to when we have time off.
Q: What’s so good about El Palacio and sN?
DZ: Both are very authentic, and the owners are there so you know there’s a lot of love. They’re just very unique and have great value.
Q: What else do you particularly like about sN?
DZ: With sN, Chef John has lots of events and live entertainment. He also does Chef Off (a cooking competition among local chefs). So it’s a great place to go and do something different. It’s not just a regular place you go out to eat; you can go in and have a nice meal, but there’s also fun events there.
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