By Molly Cerreta Smith

Tucked into the shopping center on the northeast corner of the Shea and Tatum boulevards, Rusconi’s American Kitchen is a true chef-led hidden gem that neighborhood locals have enjoyed for the past seven years. And while it remains a favorite for nearby residents, the menu is certainly worth the drive, from anywhere in the valley… and beyond.

Owned and operated by Michael Rusconi — who earned his culinary degree from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont and has been a longtime leader in the sustainable food movement — Rusconi’s American Kitchen features an artfully crafted menu featuring creative twists on classic American dishes. Phoenix foodies may recall Michael Rusconi served as the executive chef for Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley prior to opening his own restaurant.

The restaurant encompasses a cozy patio, bar area with high tops and booths as well as a dining room with views into the kitchen, which houses a wood-burning grill. Rusconi’s menu highlights regional American cuisine with affordable items that are made into sophisticated plates, making fine dining accessible to local diners. The restaurant focuses on creating dishes using the best ingredients and applying attention to detail.

Menu favorites include starters such as drunken goat cheese fondue with roasted garlic, caramelized onions and artisan bread; white truffle scented mac ‘n cheese with white truffle cream and San Joaquin gold; and Arizona Desert Sweet Shrimp with creamy grits, local linguica sausage and pomegranate gastrique. Main entrees include the popular Braised Beef Short Ribs with roasted red pepper and goat cheese grit, Brussels sprouts and red wine jus; and the fresh and delicious Roasted Chicken Salad with strawberries, rhubarb vinaigrette, praline pecans, apples and Sonoma goat cheese and more.

Brunch is another great reason to visit Rusconi’s, where one can start with a $5 Bloody Mary or Mimosa and select from a wide array of breakfast and brunch staples including RAK French Toast with cinnamon cream, powered sugar and real maple syrup; the Green Chile Pork Benedict on toasted brioche with piquillo pepper hollandaise, crispy onions and creamy grits or the Short Rib Melt on whole grain bread with cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions.

At lunchtime, the Harris Ranch “Kitchen” Burger featuring goat cheese, caramelized onions, arugula and tomato is large enough to feed a small army and is not to be missed. Yes, there are plenty of other delicious lunchtime dishes. Order the burger. You’re welcome.

Rusconi’s atmosphere toes the line between upscale and casual — so it’s ideal for a quick business lunch, happy hour with the girls, or date night. For those that enjoy a glass of wine (or two) with dinner, Rusconi’s has a fabulous wine list as well as a full bar to accommodate any cocktail creation request.

Rusconi’s, located at 10637 North Tatum Boulevard, is open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 480-483-0009 or visiting