The creative force behind downtown Scottsdale’s acclaimed wine-and-dining corner at Stetson & 6th Avenue is Peter Kasperski, a self-proclaimed ‘restaurant junkie’ and 40-year industry veteran. Kasperski’s venues have helped raise the bar for memorable Arizona dining with a simple formula: creative food, interesting beverage, unique spaces, and personable, knowledgeable staff empowered to thrill each guest, at every visit.
Kasperski has called Scottsdale home since 1979, leaving his native Chicago behind for a key position with the organization behind Steven café & restaurant. He opened or consulted on their subsequent projects in Phoenix, Chicago, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The initial location in Scottsdale won national praise from Esquire, Wall Street Journal, Gourmet, The Washington Post, Wine Spectator and Restaurants & Institutions and Kasperski moved on to regional management posts with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Bravo Restaurants, whose operations took him to Phoenix, Chicago, Milwaukee and LA.
Since the 1997 opening of Cowboy Ciao, locals and visitors have been drawn to the corner Kasperski likes to call “Restaurant Row.” His flagship venture has become a fixture, touted by respected local publications as well as The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, Cowboys & Indians, USA Today and OK!. In 2001, Kasperski opened a speakeasy-style lounge in tribute to his late father. Kazimierz world wine bar guests enjoy ‘Old World’ ambience, live entertainment and global grazing dishes, washed down with wines from all over the map. Collaborating with Nobuo Fukuda, for 7 years Kasperski operated Sea Saw, a boutique dinner house which captivated the most jaded diners and earned high praise nationally (Art Culinaire, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Sunset and the James Beard Foundation). Kasperski also co-created FnB restaurant, which recently left the Stetson Drive enclave.
Fans and critics alike applaud the value, depth and humor in Kasperski’s unconventional wine program, which encourages guests to experiment with unfamiliar varietals and boutique producers. The eclectic wine list –-offering 2000+ labels and nearly 250 varietals from some 50 countries— has received multiple Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator and mentions in Food & Wine, Gourmet, Restaurant Wine, Food Arts and Wine & Spirits. Kasperski has also penned wine columns for PHOENIX Magazine and written pieces for 944 and Scottsdale Magazine. His visionary thinking and his passion for advancing Scottsdale’s cachet as a dining destination prompted his appointment to the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor Bureau board of directors, where he served for 5 years.
In the fall of 2012, Kasperski, in conjunction with HMS Host, opened Cowboy Ciao at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix (or, as he calls it, Sky Ciao). It gained immediate notoriety and won ‘Best New Airport Restaurant’ from Entrepreneur magazine. He continues to draw a loyal, local clientele and food-savvy visitors to all his locations; in short, all those hungering for memorable, big-city dining experiences in the heart of Scottsdale’s dynamic downtown or bustling Phoenix airport.