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Meet Chef Marcellino and Sima Verzino of Marcellino Ristorante in Old Town Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chef Marcellino and Sima Verzino.

Chef Marcellino and Sima, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

See Bio attachments on Chef Marcellino and Sima Verzino

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The main challenge was finding the right space and location after moving to AZ from New York City. After a few months, it presented itself. Chef saw the perfect space which needed so much renovation! He was able to visualize everything he wanted to create in his mind’s eye. We signed the lease end of August 2003 and on Oct 20th 2003 opened our doors! Our history enfolds from that day on….. The first month and a half we were plodding along with a great FOH staff we had hired from the hundreds of interviews we had. The kitchen staff was another story! It was rather tragic finding cooks to embrace and carry forth Chef’s cuisine. Chef was pretty anxious and dismayed by it all. It took a good year before we had the kitchen staff he needed. They came and went, all along, Marcellino taking the helm every single night to chef for all. Then it happened…. and it took our breath away! After opening that first location in Central Phx, (where we prevailed for seven years before moving the location to Old Town Scottsdale,) we were awarded 5 stars in the Arizona Republic by the major food critic in town after only being in business for 7 weeks! Most nights, Chef himself was cooking for the hundreds of wonderful people that came through our doors. He has the ability to work at the speed of lightening with every dish prepared perfectly. The rave reviews from every local prominent magazine came flooding in along with repeated local television appearances. Marcellino renovated, designed and literally built both of our restaurants as this is also one of his great talents. Prior to receiving acclaim, I prayed every night to the powers that be to shine their love on us. I prayed so very hard….we worked so very hard…it payed off more than we could have ever dreamed of. Our passion, belief in one in other and both our individual and collective, powerful driving force kept us in firm belief we were doing just what we needed to do. There was never ever a question in our minds we would not succeed. I knew in my heart and soul that my husband was a rare and exceptional man of talent and integrity. And he believed in me the same way. We kept on with that dream and never allowed others to step in between us with their ideas or suggestions to do things that were not in line with our goal. It was painstaking, all consuming focus that kept us going. Hiccups? Sure! We just figured it all out day after day. It’s been a long, extremely soul satisfying road that keeps expanding daily. We live in gratitude every moment for everything the Universe has blessed us with. New ideas, self-force, personal evolvement and continued drive keeps us on our path. Our belief in one another and what we have created never waivers. That is our personal victory.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Marcellino Ristorante is so very unique. What we offer is a completely “undiluted” Italian experience from its cuisine to our European service and atmosphere. Chef Marcellino creates everything from scratch…all hand crafted, beginning with his daily made, infused pastas and their perfectly married ingredients. His rare gift is to have taken century’s old recipes and innovate them but keeping the respect and integrity of each dish. THAT is a very rare gift indeed! He has been awarded for his cuisine and his specialty hand crafted pastas more times than I can remember. We are both there nightly to welcome our guests into our “home” as we are immensely proud and humbled by those who have embraced what we offer. I create the atmosphere nightly by presiding over our guests and great staff of dedicated employees. Fresh flowers, candles, music and cleanliness everywhere is what is paramount for me. I work closely with our Marketing Director daily and our LIVE MUSIC performances every Thurs and Sat nights long ago; hiring the most talented performers in the Valley. Music is loved by all and bumps up the Marcellino Experience even more. I perform every Thurs night with my All Star Trio and we’ve quite an outstanding following! Everyone knows music is my first love and sincere passion and sharing the power of my gift and that of music is felt in every person. What we do is embrace ones soul with everything we have to offer at our Ristorante. Each and every night brings out our passion for life and the joys of sharing it with others. Our honesty, integrity and pure, exquisite Italian fare is what we are most proud of.

What were you like growing up?
Chef Marcellino Verzino: Being born on his family’s farm in rural Italy gifted him incomparable knowledge to every living thing. From planting, caring and watching the vegetables grow to handling the animals who in turn fed his family, is what gave him the sincerest form of respect on how food sustains us. On his more personal side, motorcycles, photography and building (cabinetry to furniture and more,) were his interests as a young man. Cooking stepped in after the loss of his dear mother at his young age of 11. He began preparing meals for the family and the men working in the fields at harvest time. He’s told me even back then, he would innovate dishes from his region and home town. It was clear, this was in his soul calling, only to come to fruition as he matured. His nickname in his town prevails today. “Principe.” This means Prince and was named this for his ability to take care of problems and people in need. He still offers assistance and extends his love to people both close to him and beyond.

Sima Verzino: I was a “wild child.” My personality was rather “expansive,” if you will and was always the life of the party. I grew up in the music world as my father was a musician, vocalist and had his own orchestra. My music, dance and theater world was all I cared about and strove for. I was labeled “different” due to my interests and attended the High School of Performing Arts at a very young age. After High School and the zillion studies I had under my belt, I went on to University to expand my writing skills and majored in Communications and Journalism. After university, I continued my music career by working with sensational society orchestras and eventually accepted an offer to perform in Rome, Italy. After 6 months, received a recording contract with an independent label producing American Dance hits. I continued to record, dance and perform concerts for over 10 years in Europe. Then I met a man named Marcellino who rocked my world. My writing and marketing studies only came to fruition when we opened our own Marcellino Ristorante. I stepped out of the lime light and went behind the scenes producing my husband. It’s still paying off a thousand fold and have never looked back. Returning to my music has given back my true self and am now complete. Halleluyah!

Contact Info:

  • Address: 7114 E Stetson Dr
    Old Town Scottsdale AZ 85251
  • Website:
  • Phone: 480 990-9500
  • Email:

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