In June, we celebrate all the great dads around the valley including restaurant owner Joey Lucidi. Haymaker Restaurant Co. is a local family-run business with two booming locations, including Peoria and Goodyear. Most known for their home-cooked burgers and specialty breakfasts, the Phoenix locale has been flocking in for some of the best comfort food in the Valley.
“We make quite a bit in house every day. About 85% of our food is made from scratch,” Lucidi shared. “We serve a lot of burgers. The sauces and gravy we use are my mama’s that she’d been made in her restaurant for 27 years. We also serve great breakfasts, specialty and traditional. Our biscuits and gravy are the best in town. We make our sausage gravy in house and cook our sausage in a way that keeps flavor throughout the whole product. My mama’s meatloaf is also a customer favorite. It’s amazing and real simple. She made it for us growing up and it’s one of our top five sellers. I did make a couple little changes that my wife has made over the years, but there is no bad blood there!”
Haymaker is also famous for their unique Whiskey bar. The family always loved whiskey and decided to make it a special part of the business. They currently have over 100 whiskeys to serve and have been named one of the top 100 bourbon bars in the country.
Joey has always loved the business of feeding hungry bellies. Born in Michigan and raised in California, Joey was always working in his family’s businesses, which included an ice cream shop and a few family-run restaurants. He has three siblings, none of which were too interested in the food and beverage industry. But by age 18, Joey had worked every position in his parents’ restaurants and was eventually managing their businesses.
“When I was young, I was a golfer and wanted to quit the restaurant business and play professionally,” Joey shared. “Unfortunately, I was in a car accident and could no longer golf at that level, so I went back to the restaurant.”
In 2008, Joey moved to Arizona and married. He soon realized the late nights and long days weren’t very conducive to a family lifestyle. In 2012, after selling his own small business, he decided to open his own restaurant.
“We didn’t have any good restaurants in North Peoria, where my wife and I live,” he shared of his first year in Arizona. “We wanted a good place to eat around here so I was influenced to open my own restaurant with all the knowledge I’ve grown over the years.”
Haymaker opened in 2013 in Peoria and a year later, the family opened another location in Goodyear.
“We named it Haymaker like the ‘Hail Mary’s’ punch,” Joey said. “My last business went down in 2008 with the economic crash and we lost a lot. Whatever I had left, I gave to this restaurant so we decided to call it Haymaker. I opened it with $106 left in my bank account.”
Over the last five years, Haymaker Restaurant Co. has created hundreds of jobs and has been able to donate over $250,000 to local charities.
“I’m very fortunate to spend as much time with my wife and four daughters as I do in this business,” Joey shared of his home life. “I made a commitment to run this business the way I wanted to but also to be home with my family for dinner each night. I have a great staff and team that allows me to follow through on that.”
Haymaker has grown so much that they now offer a rewards program for repeat customers. They also cater events and work with many charities, mainly sponsoring military, church, school and children based organizations.
“We hope people will think of us and other local businesses and come share a meal with us,” said Joey. “I love entertaining at heart. Whether that’s at home or in the restaurant, I enjoy seeing people eating food that we’ve produced with friends or family. Coming from a big Italian family, I associate food with family. When we’re together, we eat. I love seeing people enjoy that at our restaurants.”
By: Rebecca Kaye
Rebecca Zaner has written many stories throughout the valley and enjoys having the ability to share community news, journeys and achievements. Holding a Bachelor of Music, Rebecca’s favorite place to be is the stage. Having been a singer all her life, Rebecca is now in pursuit of a professional performing career, singing opera and musical theatre (rebeccazaner.com). Also an avid photographer, Rebecca owns a photography business, Rebecca Kaye Photography (rebeccakayephoto.wix.com/rebeccakaye). She enjoys the natural beauty of Arizona and can be found spending her free time exploring and traveling with her family.