Like many people, I was shocked when I woke up today and saw this on the Range. Guiseppe’s Ristorante Italiano has been hugely successful since opening earlier this year, and was even a staff pick for Best New Restaurant by an Old Favorite in this year’s Best of Tucson® awards.
So I called the restaurant this morning and it appears reports that the restaurant has been sold are incorrect. What has happened is that Joe Scordato, who was working insane hours in the kitchen, handed management of the day-to-day operations over to Israel Velderrain, who has known and worked with the Scordato family for more than 12 years.
“He (Joe Scordato) was working a lot and needed some time off, and I came in to help him,” Velderrain said this morning, adding that he also used to manage Trattoria Guiseppe for Scordato. “The menu is the same, all the food is the same, nothing has changed.”
Israel Velderrain and his brother, Joshua Velderrain, are now partners in the restaurant with Scordato. The recipes are all still Scordato's, and he's still playing a major role. So when the sign outside says “by Joe Scordato,” that is correct. He may not personally cook your food, but his decades of experience and deep knowledge of Italian cooking are still behind every plate.
Israel Velderrain - who was also the chef at Zona 78 for a spell - also said guests can expect the addition of new entrées, appetizers and desserts after he gets a few things ironed out at the eatery.