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. Klisara is the brains behind Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen in Scottsdale. Klisara 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,” Arikat said 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 space and knew they had a great recipe for success. It was that simple.
“Zoran wanted the location right away,” Arikat said. “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 soon will be added to the menu, and Arikat and Klisara are considering opening additional restaurants.
“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.”
Sam and Luca Rustic Kitchen
1959 S Power Rd, Mesa, AZ 85206
For more restaurants around town, visit our attractions page.