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Tucson's newest Italian eatery Zio Peppe is open
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Tucson's newest Italian eatery Zio Peppe is open

Zio Peppe bakes its pizzas in a gas and wood-fired oven that features a rotating stone hearth. 

Tucson's newest Italian restaurant Zio Peppe is open for business

The restaurant — at 6502 E. Tanque Verde Road — opened Monday, May 10, initially for takeout and delivery only. Plans to open the dining room and patio are a couple weeks down the road, the owners said.

Zio Peppe is a joint venture of longtime Janos Wilder protegé Devon Sanner and Mat Cable, who owns Fresco Pizzeria and Pasteria on East Speedway.

The restaurant features a distinctly Tucson take on Italian-American cuisine — classic pizza and pasta given a Tucson twist. Pizzas will come hot from a unique gas and wood-fired oven that features a rotating stone hearth.

Sanner likes to call what he and Cable are doing as focusing on Tucson's culinary terroir, marrying locally sourced heritage ingredients including mesquite flour and hard red wheat grown and milled in Marana with a traditional Neapolitan formula to make pizza dough, for example. Or making prickly pear and nopales the focus of a pie that also highlights cholla buds pickled in pepperoncini brine.

Pastas are equally inventive and totally Tucson, incorporating ingredients including wolfberry, green chile powder and local Pima durum wheat. Even the familiar gets a homegrown twist; fettuccine alfredo juxtaposes Sonoran-Italian, with green chile pappardelle dressed in marinara colorado.

Zio Peppe is fusing classic Italian fare with a distinctly Tucson taste. 

Zio Peppe pays tribute to Cable's “Uncle Joe,” Joe Sottosanti, who opened Tucson Sicilian pizzeria Tesseo’s nearly 50 years ago. 

In addition to Fresco Pizzeria & Pasteria at 3011 E. Speedway, which Cable has owned since 2008, Cable owns the 2-year-old First We Eat Catering and Confections and is a partner in the popular East Grant Road restaurant Dante’s Fire. He also is the house caterer for Z Mansion downtown and is a two-term president of Tucson Originals, the collective that advocates for locally owned restaurants.

Sanner has spent the past 15 years cooking alongside James Beard Award-winning chef Wilder at Janos, JBAR, Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails and The Carriage House.

Mat Cable, left, and Devon Sanner opened Zio Peppe at 6502 E. Tanque Verde Road on Monday, May 10. 

Zio Peppe will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For details or to place an order, visit ziopeppeaz.com or call 888-4242.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com. On Twitter @Starburch


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