Barzinis, a new restaurant located at the northeast corner of the Apache and Dorsey light rail stop, aims to bring traditional Italian cuisine to Tempe at an affordable price.
Barzinis celebrated its official grand opening on March 8.
Barzinis manager David Lawrence has been in the restaurant business for more than 15 years, having previously managed Pasta Brioni in Scottsdale.
Lawrence said Pasta Brioni specializes in high-end, traditional Italian food, which he thought would make a nice addition to Tempe.
“It is an excellent place,” he said. “I wanted to bring something similar to Tempe for the college crowd."
Barzinis is named for a Emilio Barzini, a character in "The Godfather."
“I thought it was kind of catchy,” he said.
Patrick Allison, a long-time friend of Lawrence and restaurant manager, teamed up to assist on the concept for the restaurant during a nine-month period.
Lawrence and Allison searched for possible locations near ASU, including Mill Avenue, but decided on the Apache and Dorsey location.
“It was quite a process, looking for a location,” Allison said. “There was a great amount of work trying to get the place open.”
Lawrence said both he and Allison, who has previously worked in construction, did all of the construction labor themselves.
“We remodeled everything, including everything from installing tiles to painting the walls,” he said.
Barzinis offers several traditional Italian dishes for dine-in, delivery and catering, including rigatoni alfredo, penne primavera, chicken parmesan and panini sandwiches. The price of pastas and sandwiches range from $7 to $12.
The restaurant also offers calzones and pizzas.
“Our biggest seller so far has been the taco pizza,” Lawrence said.
Barzinis offers a lunch special for $4.50, which includes two slices of pizza and a drink.
Lawrence said the restaurant sets itself apart from other Italian restaurants in the Valley by combining the atmosphere of a family oriented sit-down place with affordable dishes that appeal to college students.
“We give people quality food and service,” he said. “And I think that is key.”
Business marketing junior John Cifelli has worked at other Valley restaurants before joining the team at Barzinis. Cifelli said Barzinis is excellent at customer service.
“That’s what brings people back,” he said.
Cifelli said he enjoys working at the restaurant because of the atmosphere.
“I can be myself around customers,” he said.
Barzinis is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
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