A Phoenix Eatery Stands the Test of Time
In today’s competitive restaurant world, the ones that stick around for more than a decade are the exception, not the rule, which makes Phoenix’s L’Amore Restaurant’s 15-year run all the more impressive. Located on 32nd Street and Lincoln, it features an outdoor patio overlooking the mountains, a gleaming wooden bar and an intimate dining room. And if you drop by, chances are high you’ll see co-owner Greg Rose. Except for a break in the afternoon, he arrives at the restaurant in the wee hours of the morning and leaves long after the last customer has left.
“You gotta be here,” says Rose. “People come and they expect you to be here. They want to see you. They want to let you know that they’re coming in to support you.”
Rose certainly knows the ins and outs of the industry well. He’s been in the business for 40 years, working as a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant in New York during the 70s before moving to the Valley in 1989. He previously worked as a bartender before he opened up a sports bar, then bought L’Amore in 2002. The secret to his success?
“I got a great team,” says Rose. “I couldn’t do it without the team that I have back there.”
His team consists of 16 people, many who have worked at the restaurant for years, like the bartender, Laura, who has been with the restaurant since its opening. Besides his great staff, Rose also attributes his success to his focus on the customers.
“I pay attention to detail. I say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to everybody when they walk in and when they leave. I appreciate everybody’s businesses. A lot of these folks are family now. They’re not quote ‘customers.’ They’ve become good friends. We’ve been real lucky as far as meeting the clientele we have and have retained,” says Rose.
It’s not surprising, then, that the restaurant has gathered prominent fans. Jane Hull, former governor of Arizona, is a regular, but Rose says he gives each and every customer the same amount of respect, whether or not they’re “high profile.”
Service and staff aside, no restaurant could truly thrive without quality food, and at L’Amore, they serve simple and fresh cuisine.
“We don’t try to complicate things,” says Rose. “We just make everything as fresh and as palatable as customers want or need.”
Although L’Amore is an Italian restaurant, Rose says he sells more fish than anything else. He also trains his staff to help guide customers in deciding on what to eat.
“I don’t even like to give customers a menu,” says Rose. “I’d rather just sit there and have one of my employees tell them what they would like. What’s fresh. What their palate is calling for today.”
When diners come in, Rose understands that they’ve been making decisions all day and truly wants them to feel like they can relax as soon as they walk through the doors. He even prefers to call his customers friends. His approach is evident in the dining room décor, where the walls are filled with family photos that you’d expect to see in his home.
“It’s a place where you can come in and let your hair down,” Rose says of L’Amore. “You don’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable here.”