By Patty Talahongva
Dining with family is truly an experience you’ll get at The Camelback Esplanade’s family-owned restaurants, both of which opened in the last two years.
Ten–Handcrafted American Fare & Spirits is owned by Jeff Hostenske and the name of his restaurant comes directly from his family’s name. “Ten is the heart of my last name,” he explains, “and it is an homage to my family and how I was raised with the morals, values and work ethic they instilled in me.”
Right down the corridor is Solo Trattoria, owned by the Veselinovic family whose names all appear on the menu: dad Walter, mom Jackie and sons Jon, Adam and Alex. They all work at the restaurant along with other family members and friends, but it’s the parents and Jon who actually own the restaurant.
“For me this is a sort of comfort to know we all have each others’ best interest at heart,” says Jon. “We do not have any times where you would not find someone from the family at Solo.”
Like Hostenske, Jon says his family wanted to create a place where they could feature their specialty cuisine. “We wanted to try and bring our version of Italian cooking to the menu. Solo means ‘only,’ and I think of it as we only wanted to offer a trattoria,” which is a less-formal, affordable Italian café.
Both places feature homemade dishes that reflect the families’ personal travels and experiences, and not a corporate-dictated menu.
Hostenske has been in the restaurant business for about 17 years and most recently came from Z-Tejas. This restaurant is the culmination of a dream he’s had for a long time. After moving around in the business and picking up various styles of cooking, he now incorporates what he’s learned into his menu.
Originally from Ohio, his Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup and the Pot Roast reflect that region. BBQ Roast Pork Shoulder, Shrimp and Grit Cakes, and the Fried Green Tomatoes all reflect his time spent in South Carolina.
Some of the customer lunch favorites include the Cordon Bleu or Cincinnati Chili. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, your special requests can be accommodated, but it’s best to call beforehand so the chefs can be prepared.
Ten features a full bar with “Decompress” hours Monday thru Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. Appetizers are half price, craft beers are $3 and cocktails are $5.
“I promised my wife I would be able to spend one full day with her and the only way I could achieve that is to close the restaurant (on Sunday), so it actually turned out great, the staff loves knowing that they will always have Sunday to spend with their families,” Hostenske says, adding that “It keeps morale high.”
To see the menu for TEN go to: www.tenfareandspirits.com. Or you can call 602-374-2611.
At Solo Trattoria, Jon also knows about keeping morale high so family members are encouraged to put their own style into the restaurant. That includes his love of art and music. “So on Friday and Saturday evenings we bring in live music and have offered a handful of paint nights or art events. The walls are completely covered with local art for sale,” he explains.
Diners can select dishes that reflect the desert environment. “We offer seasonally inspired, Arizona-focused, Italian cooking. I think this makes it fun to drink Arizona wines with a local take to Italian cooking,” Jon says. The local wines and beers are highlighted in red on the menu, making them easy to spot if you want to try a local beverage.
Customer favorites include the popular salmon BLT for lunch and the Verdure for dinner. It’s a spaghetti squash along with other seasonal veggies sautéed with a house-infused basil oil. People allergic to wheat won’t have a problem finding something to eat because Solo also offers a gluten-free menu.
Dessert is made daily by the mom, Jackie. Her Affogato with Amaro comes highly recommended. It’s two homemade biscotti cookies, a shot of espresso, a scoop of gelato and a shot of Amaro liquor. “I consider it the best adult ice cream float,” laughs Jon.
You can follow Solo Trattoria on Twitter or like them on Facebook or sign up for the digital newsletter. You can always visit www.soloaz.com to see the entire menu. Call 602-368-3680.