Kitchen Doors: Fired Up
Dom Ruggiero opened Fire at Will on Shea and Tatum Boulevards in Phoenix in November 2022. “We get a lot of feedback that people really needed something like this in this area. It’s awesome to be in my hometown and open cool spots in the community for people to enjoy,” said Ruggiero, who grew up nearby.
Fire at Will menu favorites include the award-winning Hush Burger from Ruggiero’s first restaurant, Hush Public House, Iberico ham croquettes, bacon-wrapped dates, and macaroni au gratin featuring aged gouda, manchego and gruyere.
As he did at Hush Public House, Ruggiero put a lot of thought into Fire at Will’s cocktail menu, working with local experts to design libations based on classic cocktails, like the popular Mr. Brownstone, made with brown butter-washed bourbon, black walnut and brown sugar.
Fire at Will is named after a military command. Shortly after graduating high school following 9/11, Ruggiero spent four years in the Marines.
“My first management experience was as a sergeant in the Marine Corps,” he said. “It taught me discipline, attention to detail and organizational skills that I’ve carried with me throughout my culinary career.”
After leaving the Marines and trying a few different jobs, Ruggiero attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale. He worked for top restaurants and chefs, including Matt Carter at Zinc Bistro, Charleen Badman at FnB, and LGO Hospitality, where he worked at Chelsea’s Kitchen, Ingo’s and some of their California restaurants.
“I am super fortunate to have worked for some amazing chefs and learned the craft and technique,” Ruggiero said. “I learned about seasonality and produce at FnB, and I learned how to run a business at LGO. My experience has helped me become a well-rounded chef and learn not only how to operate the kitchen but the whole restaurant.”
In 2019, Ruggiero opened Hush Public House in north Scottsdale. “As an owner, I cook the food I want to cook without any boundaries. When I opened Hush, I took a lot of the things I learned from the chefs I worked for and incorporated aspects of different regions with a seasonal chef-driven approach,” he said.
Hush has received local and national recognition for its thoughtful and delicious dishes. In 2021, Ruggiero opened the Vanilla Gorilla Tap Room & Bottle Shop next door to Hush.
Like all of Ruggiero’s restaurants, Fire at Will highlights local purveyors, including Sonoran Pasta, Crow’s Dairy, Noble Bread and Frites Street. “We use local suppliers as much as possible,” Ruggiero said. “I’ve worked with a lot of these suppliers throughout my career, and we support each other.”
After opening three restaurants in less than four years, what’s next for Ruggiero? As he and his wife Holly, who helps run the restaurants, are expecting their first child this summer, he has other ideas. “I have a lot of areas of interest to possibly pursue in the future,” he said. Stay tuned for more from this talented chef.
To learn more, go to eatfireatwill.com.