Tucson, AZ

New Italian Restaurant Opening, and You Can't Visit It

Greyson F

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Have fresh Italian food delivered to you.Sorin Papa/Unsplash

Traditional Italian meals include hearty foods designed to feed both immediate and extended families. From lasagna to spaghetti, the foods are enjoyed by those of all ages, and when visiting most Italian restaurants, many leave with full bellies and the need for a nap. Tucson will see the opening of a brand new Italian, but this one is a little different. 

You can’t actually visit it. 

With the struggle many restaurants went through this past year, paying rent or mortgages on large spaces that could not be used while struggling to keep staff on payroll while only focusing on delivery and pick-up, it’s a considerable amount of money to invest in an industry that may still be in flux. Especially with the ever-changing pandemic situation. That is why local chef Riley Chandler has forsaken the move to a traditional building, and instead opened a ghost restaurant called Stancato’s Italiano Sonoran.

As the name suggests, it is an Italian meets Sonoran cooking style, which blends both hearty Italian cooking with the flavors and spices of the Sonoran desert. It’s also part of his heritage, as he grew up in Tucson but with Italian grandparents. 

But what exactly is a ghost kitchen? It’s something you know exists but don’t ever see. In short. It’s a restaurant you can’t visit or eat at, but it is one you can order from and have delivered to your house. 

While you are not able to visit the restaurant, everything is made in-house. Because there isn’t a required stock of food that needs to be prepped every day for in-person eating, the food is instead made specifically for you and your order, when you order it. The pastas are made daily, ensuring the ultimate fresh taste, and sauces are made from scratch. 

As everything is made to order the menu is slightly smaller than most traditional Italian restaurants, but that helps ensure all produce remains fresh. The appetizer list includes a focaccia truffle garlic parmesan bread, Italiano Sonoran charcuterie board (chef’s board), Caprese Nopalito fries (french fries with dehydrated tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, pickled jalapenos, and other ingredients), an elote springs salad, and a godfather garden salad.

The main pastas and courses include a double ravioli, fettuccine alfredo, shell pasta (conchiglie), penne pasta, sauces that include a red sauce, basil pesto, alfredo, Oaxacan cheese sauce, and truffle butter sauce. Proteins you can add to the pastas include a seafood option that will vary, braised Wagyu short rib, and a pollo de Ajo. You can also add in a Sicilian sausage, plus several dessert offerings as well. 

The website does allow you to look over images of all the food options, so you don’t need to order your meal blindly. There is also a way to order right from the website as well. Ordering goes live on September 15, but when you select the “Order Stancato’s Delivery” on the website it will bring up the different online delivery options, including Postmates, GrubHub, and Uber Eats. It is recommended to keep the website menu open (or download the offered PDF on the page) so you can have it up while placing the order. 

Prices are not yet available or listed on the restaurant website, but these will be made available once ordering goes live on September 15.

So if you’re interested in new, from-scratch Italian food, and don’t want to have to wrangle friends and family together in order to head out to the restaurant, this ghost Italian meets Sonoran Desert kitchen may be your next favorite eating experience. 

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