Joey Maggiore was burned out in 2016. He was working too many hours in his restaurant and not enough with his family.
Because of this, he converted his seafood concept restaurant nestled in Gainey Village, Cuttlefish, into Hash Kitchen — a brunch space that offered food that not only looked good but tasted great.
“It was time to make a move that provided a better homelife that worked out better for the business,” said Maggiore, who co-founded Hash Kitchen with his wife, Cristina. “We wanted to do something out of the box that was similar to my personality.”
He did just that by creating gargantuan portions of food.
“The creativity behind each dish plays well and tastes delicious, but when it comes to the table, we all eat with our eyes, and when food comes out large, people love it,” Maggiore said.
He created house-made signature dishes like giant cannoli pancakes topped with cannoli filling; carnitas hash with slow-braised carnitas that sits atop a mound of cheese and potatoes smothered in green chili sauce; and the eatery’s signature chicken and waffles.
“We always knew we were a breakthrough brand. We were just waiting to get acknowledged,” he said with a laugh.
His suspicions were correct, as customers began waiting hours t get in.
“In the first two months, we saw the volume get busier and busier,” Maggiore said. “When you see customers waiting in line from one to three hours to eat your food, that’s the biggest accomplishment there is.”
Fast forward six years and four more locations, Maggiore has seen such a demand that he sold 51% of the brand to the Savory Fund — a Utah-based company that partners with restaurateurs to expand unique brands that target unique, new and undiscovered parts of the food and beverage industry. He’s adding a second Peoria location near Arrowhead Towne Center and a location in at Verde Cooling Station.
Hash Kitchen also plans to add 24 new locations by 2024.
“Even though there are great states out there to do business in, we wanted to start here and backfill every area we can, and then when there’s not any real estate left, we will look into other states,” Maggiore said.
He chose Peoria due to the prolonged wait times he has witnessed at Hash Kitchen’s nearby location near the Loop 101 and Northern Avenue.
“Because our highest-grossing location is off of Northern and the 101 and the waits have gotten so big, we’re opening another location near Arrowhead mall to offset that location,” Maggiore said.
Maggiore is also excited to unveil the evolved look of Hash Kitchen with its new locations.
“They say after you build three or five locations, they start becoming the way they should,” he said.
Because of this, he plans to give the restaurants a subtle makeover.
“Going forward, we’re bringing some more greenery to the interior, but the insides won’t change as much,” Maggiore said. “The exteriors are where we’re going to work now since we’re in shopping centers and want to stand out as much as we can and provide a place for Instagram-worthy photo opportunities and display the fun that Hash is.”
Although his restaurants may not all look identical, Maggiore hopes that each restaurant makes diners feel at home, much like he feels every time he walks into his initial location inside Gainey Village.
“People have many restaurants to choose from, but what makes the difference is when they come into our restaurant, they feel like they’re a part of it,” Maggiore said.