Savor Sumptuous Italian Cuisine at Postino WineCafe
If you’ve lived in the Valley for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard of or experienced the wonderful cuisine at Postino WineCafe. This legendary restaurant (the name means “post office” in Italian) made its home in the old Arcadia Post Office 14 years ago, and continues to be a neighborhood favorite.
The restaurant’s parent company, Upward Projects, is owned by founding partner Greg DeMarco and his wife Kris, along with their ASU alumni friends, Lauren and Wyatt Bailey. Their mission is to restore old buildings and turn them into fabulous restaurants. They now have four Postino restaurants under their belt in Arcadia, Central, Tempe and Gilbert. Their other restaurant concepts include Windsor, Churn, Joyride Taco House and Federal Pizza.
DeMarco started in the restaurant industry at age 15 after he asked his dad for a car and was told to get a job. He started out washing dishes and later became a server. Then, 15 years later on a family trip to Italy, he noticed that all the small towns they visited had local wine bars. Once in the U.S. again, he saw the old Arcadia Post Office and founded Postino WineCafe. This also started the concept of adapted reuse—taking an old building in a neighborhood and repurposing it. To date, Upward Projects has repurposed a couple of old banks, a school and a post office.
“I am very grateful and appreciative of all the support the community has given me all these years. Our restaurants are surrounded by amazing neighborhoods,” states DeMarco.
Postino’s is welcoming and relaxing, with an outdoor patio, a lounge and small tables. Their long bar with a TV is great for an after work happy hour or late night snack. And, a wonderful display of wines is stationed for your selection to enjoy there or at home.
I started my sampling with an appetizer of olives—a blend of Luques, Picholine, Gaeta, Red Cerignola, Arbequina and Castelvetrano. I enjoyed the tasty selection, referring to them by size and color. Other appetizers include NYC Grilled Cheese; Bella Postino, a warm artichoke dip and white bean hummus; an artisan Cheese Board and a Butcher’s Block Board with cheeses, hummus, asparagus, olives, nuts and crostini, just to name a few.
Popular Panini sandwiches include Tuscan Tuna; the Nine Iron with hickory smoked bacon and grilled chicken; a vegetarian option; an Autostrada of Italian cheeses and meats; Prosciutto and Brie; Chicken and Mozzarella and Turkey and Roast Beef, all served on your choice of ciabatta or focaccia bread with a side salad or Yukon Gold chips.
I immensely enjoyed their legendary bruschetta board, which offers a dozen selections. The four I sampled were the Brie and Apple with fig spread; the Prosciutto, Fig and Mascarpone; the BLT and the seasonal Mascarpone and Mortadella. Postino definitely sets the bar for having the best bruschetta in the Valley. Warning: they’re habit forming.
Fresh soup is offered daily, along with four salads. I tasted the Raspberry Chicken Salad and loved the raspberry dressing. Other salads include Mixed Greens, Hannah’s Field and Italian Picnic. I recommend you do a combination of two, which can be a half of any Panini sandwich, a side of any salad and a cup of soup.
Journey of Flavors
Chef Chris Newstrom, culinary director for all eight locations, also started his career at the age of 15, working as waiter at Westminster Abby in Scottsdale. From there, he worked at a fast food establishment, but his hands-on experience came from three-and-half years working at a country club in Tonto Verde.
Chef Chris likes to create food that is interesting and fun, using only the freshest ingredients from local suppliers. Everything on the menu is made daily, including house made dressings and granolas.
“My goal is to create a journey of flavors that starts with colors and textures that keep you excited from your first bite to your last,” states Chef Chris.
A mouth-watering menu is also offered for brunch every weekend from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Some items include a Farm Scramble; the BELT—bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato; Ciabatta French Toast and many others.
Postino WineCafe started as a concept, and continues to be more than just a restaurant. It has preserved a bit of history by repurposing older buildings and has brought an urban-style feeling to neighborhoods. That mission will continue with the opening of another Postino WineCafe in North Scottsdale, Kierland in October and another in an old bank building by Fashion Square Mall by year’s end.