Sam & Luca Rustic Kitchen receives enthusiastic welcome
June 15, 2018
By Lynette Carrington
With an “Old World charm and a New World vibe,” Sam & Luca Rustic Kitchen brings those two worlds together in East Mesa under leadership of an unlikely duo – Sam Arikat and Zoran Klisara.
Arikat owns Sam’s Liquor in Scottsdale, while Zoran Klisara is the brains behind Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen in Scottsdale. He later also opened Mastro’s and Mastro’s City Hall. He previously managed Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn.
Arikat said the joint venture, which opened in early May, was unexpected.
“It was definitely not planned,” said Arikat with a laugh. “My ‘uncle,’ who’s not a blood uncle, owns the Fry’s Plaza at Power and Baseline.
“One day, he was visiting me at my store in Scottsdale, Sam’s Liquor, and he said, ‘I just lost a tenant and it would be a perfect spot for a restaurant.”
They visited the potential restaurant location and knew they had a great recipe for success. It was that simple.
“Zoran wanted the location right away,” Arikat explained. “He suggested we go in as partners and I told him I didn’t have restaurant experience. He said it didn’t matter. ‘I see all the potential in the world.’”
The wheels were set in motion for Sam & Luca Rustic Kitchen, named after Klisara’s son, Luca, and Arikat. The menu focuses on fresh starters ($8-$12), such as bruschetta, grilled asparagus and rustic boards, and salads adorned with strawberries and rustic ingredients.
Pasta and risotto selections include pappardelle Bolognese ($17), fettuccini carbonara ($16), shrimp scampi ($16) and penne arrabiata ($16). Other entrees include pollo Milanese ($17), New York strip ($24) and a mixed grill ($23).
The duo found it important to bring something different to the neighborhood.
“We’re not a chain and everything here is made from scratch,” Arikat said.
Pizza will soon be added to the menu, and Arikat and Klisara are considering opening additional locations.
“Now we’re in the exciting stage,” Arikat said. “We’ve opened the doors and people are ranting and raving about it. We’re getting nothing but five-star reviews and it’s getting busier every single day.”