The NextGen Casual space has taco, New American, and eatertainment concepts aplenty, but Italian cuisine has remained largely untouched—and Savory Fund spies an opportunity in that. In October, the private equity firm purchased a majority stake in The Sicilian Butcher, a three-unit Arizona concept serving scratch-made Italian eats. Under this deal, Savory Fund will invest up to $30 million in the brand and its on-site spin-off, The Sicilian Baker.

“Every single detail of The Sicilian Butcher is very thoughtful and intentional,” says co-founder Joey Maggiore, “from the location, to the menu, to the cocktail program, design, ambiance, music, and staff attire to cultivate a dining experience that is fresh, innovative, and experiential.”

Savory Fund’s investment speaks to both the potential of the concept itself, as well as its parent company, The Maggiore Group. In 2021, Savory Fund invested $20 million in another of the group’s restaurants, Hash Kitchen, a better-breakfast and brunch concept with five units at the time of purchase.

In both deals, founders Joey and Cristina Maggiore and business partner Flora Tersigni remain active in guiding and growing the restaurants; for The Sicilian Butcher specifically, Joey Maggiore and Tersigni serve on the board of directors.

“Our partnership with Savory Fund allows us to expand our dreams exponentially by opening three more locations in Arizona and nearly 20 new units in untapped U.S. markets,” says Maggiore. “The growth plans will bring more convenient locations to our customers, while honoring my father’s legacy who was an exceptional chef with a devotion for Sicily.”

The Sicilian Butcher’s unique differentiator, Maggiore says, is its aim to stay ahead of the curve with elevated experiences. That also applies to other concepts within Maggiore Group, which creates one-of-a-kind experiences to bring back first-time customers and convert them into returning guests, such as a build-your-own cannoli bar at The Sicilian Baker, a Bloody Mary bar where guests can customize their brunch beverage from start to finish at Hash Kitchen, and an interactive margarita bar at The Mexicano with over 30 craft toppings.

“I have always had a strong affinity to the Italian food segment, and it has taken time to find the right concept ready for national expansion. The Sicilian Butcher is the best all-around concept poised for scale,” said Savory Fund managing director Andrew Smith in a statement last fall. “Investing behind Joey’s abilities to create one-of-a-kind experiences is a win-win. I have never met someone like him in the industry. I’m honored to partner with him again.”

The Sicilian Butcher menu includes the usual suspects (pizza, Chicken Parmigiana, Mozzarella Caprese), but it also serves less common items, like Sicilian-style sandwiches, meat-and-cheese boards with bruschetta, and build-your-own pasta, featuring eight varieties of hand-rolled meatballs, 10 fresh sauces, and nearly a dozen scratch-made pasta bases.

“We share our passion for Italian and Sicilian food by utilizing our generational family recipes to deliver authentic, quality Sicilian-style cuisine made in a from-scratch kitchen and pair the culinary experience with Italian-inspired cocktails and hospitality-driven service,” Maggiore says, “as well as a unique cannoli bar and Italian-style pasticceria next door at The Sicilian Baker.”

In terms of targeted markets, Savory Fund is exploring options in Texas; specifically, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, as well as Las Vegas, with a goal of hitting 20 units in the next four years.

Feature, NextGen Casual