The restaurant business can be a tough industry to crack, but Oro Valley’s Julie Vlahakis is finding success at Amarsi Ristorante.

Vlahakis was born in Brooklyn, was raised on Long Island, and grew up Italian on one side, and Greek on the other.

Vlahakis graduated from Rutgers University with a major in English, and a minor in Art History.

She worked as an art consultant and in interior design out of school.

Vlahakis has extensive restaurant experience in every level of service, including captain positions in Manhattan and New Jersey at the three and four-star level.

Vlahkis started her restaurant career as a diner waitress out in the Hamptons working 20-hour overnight shifts, and nothing has been able to faze her since.

Besides managing her own restaurant, Vlahakis also owned a transportation company with her husband for 12 years in Tucson, she ran five simultaneous resort contracts for group businesses and tourists.

Vlahkis has owned and operated Amarsi Ristorante for two years.  

“During this time, I have received so much help from my husband, my staff, my customers and my vendors, all of whom have contributed to the success and growth of Amarsi Ristorante in very significant and different ways,” said Vlahakis.

The concept for Amarsi grew out of Vlahakis’ love for the neighborhood Italian restaurants back home in New York and New Jersey.  

“I wanted the restaurant to have a warm, yet upscale feel,” she said. “Indeed one customer said coming into Amarsi felt like being hugged.”

Amari’s food is classic east coast Italian, with bold flavors of garlic, basil, oregano and sage.  

“It is un-fussy, un-complicated deliciously prepared food and the pizza can’t be beat,” Vlahakis said. “The service is exceptional, with a fun, familial yet professional attitude and the staff’s years of experience shines through at every table.”

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