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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : business : business May 22, 2015

8/9/2013 6:01:00 AM
Chew on this: Zito building new life as restaurant owner
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Tuscan Kitchen Owner Johvonn Zito and Chef-manager Doug Mattheis show off a pizza.
Below, the dining room of the former Giovanniís holds 78 people for lunch and dinner.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Tuscan Kitchen Owner Johvonn Zito and Chef-manager Doug Mattheis show off a pizza. Below, the dining room of the former Giovanniís holds 78 people for lunch and dinner.
Tuscan Kitchen
8930 E. Valley Rd., Prescott Valley


Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Johvonn Zito began driving from Chino Valley 10 years ago to enjoy Italian food at Giovanni's Pizzeria in part because the owners had the same last name (but were not related).

Giovanni and Johanna Zito later moved to Albuquerque, and the restaurant went through two new owners.

Johvonn Zito, who worked in his family's restaurants in Elmira, N.Y., and briefly owned a catering business in Chino Valley, said owning a restaurant of his own "has been a passion."

He continued, "I think this area needs a good, home-cooked authentic Italian meal."

He seized an opportunity after Tony and Billie Caputo closed Giovanni's a year ago. He opened Tuscan Kitchen in January at the same location.

Zito, a builder since 1979, applied his skills of the trade by remodeling the restaurant. He said he removed the glass door to expand the entry to provide more room for patrons to wait for a table.

"We did a remodel, and we did a facelift on the inside of the building, along with expanding that entry," Zito said.

Zito acknowledged a challenge that has existed ever since a restaurant opened on a street that generates largely commercial traffic: location.

However, Zito said former customers of Giovanni's are returning to patronize Tuscan Kitchen, adding he draws a diverse crowd that includes families, seniors, business people, high school students and a baseball team.

Tuscan Kitchen also is bringing in groups for luncheons as well as birthday parties, Zito said.

He said he also supplies meals to area hotels, and delivers all entrees as far away as the Prescott Gateway Mall.

Zito said he enjoys receiving compliments from patrons. Some customers have asked to meet the chef, so Doug Mattheis comes out of the kitchen to greet them.

The menu

The cuisine is more northern than southern Italian, Mattheis said.

"It's not spicy," Mattheis explained. "It's fresh tomatoes, basils, garlic. It's simple food."

And it is cooked to order, Mattheis said.

Zito said, "We have a big pot, boiling water all day long."

Tuscan Kitchen has a lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner menu from 3 to 9 p.m. However, customers may order items from lunch and dinner during business hours, Mattheis said.

The lunch menu consists of sandwiches, salads, pastas, burgers and side dishes. Sandwiches range in price from $7 for smoked ham to $9 for Italian and veggie submarines. Salad items cost anywhere from $3 for Italian coleslaw to $7.99 for soup, salad and a soft drink.

The price range for lunch pastas is $5 for macaroni and cheese to $9.99 for lasagna.

Burgers and steamed hot dogs cost $6.50.

Appetizers with dinner cost anywhere from $3 for a side of homemade fresh-cut fries to $7 for Italian sausage with marinara sauce.

The dinner menu contains a wide selection of pastas and pizzas. Pastas range in price from $9 for fettuccine alfredo, spaghetti marinara and penne with marinara to $15.99 for seafood mare.

Pizzas range in size from 12 to 16 inches, peaking in price at $17 for a 16-inch white pizza.

Customers may order gluten-free pastas and pizzas.

Pizzas, chicken parmesan, fettuccine alfredo and lasagna are popular dishes, Mattheis said.

"I think people are familiar with those items."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: patricia smith

So far the best pizza out here.
It's close to a Jersey pizza. Just love'
the crust! Coupons are a great feature too.

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: Jackie Prescott

One of the nice things about this place besides the great food and cherry staff is that they offer coupons on their website that really cuts the cost!! Hope they make it.

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: Sam and Jackie Israel

Congratulations, you will be a huge success !

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: Jammers Murphy

They did a beautiful remodeling job, and the food was great

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: Uncle Remus

Looks like Doug was playing with the electricity recently too.

Posted: Friday, August 09, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Sounds GOOD! Time to go see just how good it is. See you soon.

Posted: Friday, August 09, 2013
Article comment by: Bobbi Wicks

Congrats to you, Jody.......and much success!

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