‘Italy Meets Arizona’

There will be nothing simple about Osteria Mia

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Mario Rana knows he has a good thing.

Sitting in his State 48 Brewery in the Scottsdale Airpark, Rana shares his latest project—Osteria Mia, a modern Italian restaurant and wine bar coming in January to the Shops at Norterra.

The menu will feature wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, build-your-own bruschetta and charcuterie boards, and other Italian specialties and small plates.

“We will have an extensive wine-by-the-glass list, focusing on Italian and Arizona wine,” Rana says. “Osteria Mia will have a heavy theme of ‘Italy meets Arizona,’ from the décor to the ingredients in our dishes.”

Half of the building is going to open up with garage doors, and it boasts a wrap-around patio.

Rana will source locally, using Hayden Flour Mill for its pastas and Farmi for meats.

“I went to high school with the guy behind Farmi,” he says. “He raises goats, chickens and ducks. The chickens are raised on organic feed cage-free on his farm. I’ve sampled some of the products and he brought me this chicken. It was the best chicken I’ve ever tried. So, everything is really high-quality. Everything that isn’t local we will be supplementing with imported Italian products.”

Rana says he was searching the Valley for a location for his Italian concept when The Shops at Norterra approached him about State 48 Brewery. He offered a two-for-one plan.

“It’s the fastest-growing part of Phoenix,” Rana says. “The West Valley’s blowing up right now. Once we accepted the offer for State 48 Brewery, we counteroffered with the second location and they gave us what we wanted.

“There’s not much competition in that area, as far as what we’re doing with our pizzas.”

Restaurants are in the Rana family’s blood. His grandparents relocated to Arizona in the 1960s to open pizzerias. Rana says handmade pastas are their “driving force.”

Osteria Mia broke ground a couple of weeks ago for its building, with Rana as a contractor as well. He grew up in the restaurant and construction industries. His father was a foreman on the World Trade Center “the first time they tried to blow it up.

“When we moved to Arizona in the late-1990s, we got back in the restaurant industry.”

The family owns six restaurants, four of which are State 48. Another is in Sun City Grand called Angela’s Kitchen, and then there’s his brother’s pizza restaurant, Cuoco Pazzo.

“It’s similar to what we’re going to be doing with Osteria Mia,” he says. “He does the wood-fired pizza, but he does more New York Italian and I’m more modern Italian, kind of what they’re actually eating in Italy today.”

Rana says the key to his success is simple: he learns from his mistakes.

“We have closed restaurants,” says Rana, a Desert Mountain High School graduate. “We’ve been doing this for about 15 years in Arizona. We know what we’re doing. As far as breweries go, we don’t just make good beer, we make great food.

“We have real chefs at every location. We make everything from scratch. We have a great atmosphere. All the locations have cool atmospheres. It’s not just a tasting room. We’re a full-service restaurant that also makes top-class beer.”  

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