Infinite Zest

Infinite Zest

Rinaldi’s Italian Deli brings breakfast burritos and boundless hospitality to the table

Story and photos by Madison Rutherford

If you had to guess where to get one of the best breakfast burritos in North Scottsdale, an Italian deli probably wouldn’t be at the top of your list.

But Rinaldi’s, which has called the Scottsdale Promenade home for nearly 15 years, is best known for its breakfast. Mornings at Rinaldi’s often observe serpentine lines of early risers eager to bite into a lightly toasted tortilla packed with fluffy scrambled eggs, gooey cheddar cheese, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and a choice of fresh bacon, sausage, ham or chorizo.

The burritos sing with the deli’s delicious homemade salsa, which owner John Sayegh says is made with garden-fresh tomato, cilantro and onions.

“If I tell you any more, I’ll give away my recipe,” he quips.

According to Sayegh, the burritos are the deli’s No. 1 item on the breakfast menu, which also boasts omelets, sandwiches and bagels. Carnivores will love the meat-centric Max Burro while vegetarians will relish the Easy Burro (egg, cheese and potatoes).

Sayegh was born and raised in the Bronx, a heritage that is not only reflected in the food, but the look and feel of Rinaldi’s. While one wall of the deli houses refrigerators containing every beverage you can think of, the opposite wall is lined with framed memorabilia from the Empire State — a signed Giants jersey, a black and white action shot of Joe DiMaggio circa 1941, and a collage dedicated to the firefighters who risked their lives during 9/11. Patrons can enjoy their meal at tables inside or choose from a spattering of umbrella-shielded seats outside.

For lunch, Sayegh serves made-to-order masterpieces created with care and Boar’s Head premium honey maple ham, mesquite turkey, prosciutto, pepperoni and more. Sayegh recommends the roast beef, which is hand-sliced and made in-house. The hot pastrami sandwich is also a crowd-pleaser. Daily specials include brisket of beef, chicken parmesan, meatballs, shells stuffed with ricotta and baked ziti. He claims he’s never had a single complaint about any of his food.

This is easy to believe if you watch him make a meal — he layers meat and veggies with the precision and attentiveness of an engineer building a car.

Rinaldi’s also offers catering, featuring six-foot subs that contain 30 slices and 8.5 pounds of precisely sliced meat, which Sayegh says feeds about 20 people.

“No party is too small or too large for us,” he says.

His food speaks for itself, but Sayegh believes that’s only half the battle. He wants his customers to feel at home when they walk through the door.

“The No. 1 item that should be on an authentic deli menu is customer service,” Sayegh says. “I have a personal relationship with every customer. I open up the doors at 7 a.m. If a customer’s knocking on my door at 6:30 and I’m ready to roll, I’ll open the door for them.”

re proceeding to a formal lease agreement.

Signing entity. For tax and legal protection reasons, most businesses and professional practices are either incorporated or structured as a limited liability company (an LLC or PLLC). Therefore, the lease would be signed by the authorized representative of the legal entity.

Guarantees. Specify that the signing entity shall guarantee the lease (not you and your spouse, personally). Be aware a personal guarantee is a contingent liability.

Trade name. Identify the name of the business or professional practice that will appear on signage.

Address. Include the full address, including the suite number(s).

Size. Industrial and retail space is typically leased by the square foot (SF) and includes the thickness of the walls. Office space in buildings with common areas is leased by the rentable square foot (RSF), which is somewhat larger than the usable area (USF). Depending on the type of space being leased, and based on representations made by the listing agent or owner, I suggest referencing the SF, or both the RSF and the USF, in the LOI.

Lease term. The initial lease term should be long enough to obtain maximum concessions and short enough to provide flexibility. The use of renewal options can be a wise way to achieve a longer term.

Renewal options. A renewal option gives the tenant the right, but not the obligation, to extend the lease for a period of time. I suggest establishing a not-to-exceed rental rate for the renewal term(s), including escalations.

Rental rate. The rental rate being offered should be based on the amount your business or professional practice can comfortably afford, not the landlord’s asking rate. Think of the asking rental rate as the equivalent of a vehicle’s sticker price – both are amounts only an uninformed or overly anxious person would pay.

Escalations. Most landlords seek periodic escalations in the rental rate. Escalations do not have to be annual. When they are required, strive for nominal increases and be mindful of your business’s ability to increase prices to customers, patients or clients.

Free rent period. Regardless of market conditions, I suggest requesting at least one month of free rent for every year of the initial lease term. Spreading it over the lease term may result in more free rent.

Base year operating expenses. Some lease types include the operating expenses of the building as part of the rent, and many times these expenses are tied to a base year. I suggest setting the base year as the year following the commencement date, and placing a cap on annual increases attributable to controllable expenses. The base year shall be automatically reset upon the exercise of any option. On newly constructed buildings, make certain the base year is identified as the year the building is fully assessed for property taxes.

Commencement date. This is the date a tenant is to begin paying rent, or the date free rent is applied.

Early occupancy date. I suggest requesting a two-week period prior to the commencement date at no charge in order to transition into the space. This period can be used to install communications and furniture.

Expiration date. This is the date the tenant no longer has the right to occupy the premises. Although most leases terminate on the expiration date, some provide for an automatic extension of the lease term in the event the tenant has not provided timely notice of its intent to vacate the premises on the expiration date (an “evergreen clause”).

Security deposit. Generally, security deposits are equal to the last month’s rental amount; however, be mindful they are not pre-paid rent. In the event a security deposit greater than one month’s rent is required, request a portion be applied to future rents.

Tenant improvement allowance. Stipulate an amount the landlord will contribute towards permanent improvements to the space with any unused amounts to be applied towards rents otherwise due.

Fixturization period. In the event the tenant is responsible for making improvements, be certain to negotiate a period free of any rental charges sufficient to complete the work. This should include adequate time to obtain all needed permits.

Parking. Specify the number of parking spaces required for your staff as well as invitees. If reserved parking comes at a cost, specify the amount you are agreeable to paying.

Warranties. Stipulate that the landlord shall warrant the HVAC, electrical, plumbing and roof, among other things, for the entire occupancy period, including any exercised option periods.

There are other terms, conditions and provisions that should be included in a LOI, including: the acceptance date, non-binding disclaimer, confidentiality provision, exclusive and permitted uses clause, signage rights, relocation provisions, first right to expand, prohibited co-tenants and uses, early termination provisions, late delivery penalties, death or disability provisions, transferability provisions, notices, most favored nation provisions and acknowledgement of your broker’s representation, to name just a few. 



Stephen A. Cross, CCIM, owns CROSS Commercial Realty Advisors ( and is a licensed real estate broker. Mr. Cross advocates exclusively for tenants and buyers and, since 1984, has advised over 2,700 business owners, investors and corporate decision-makers on ways to lease and purchase property at the lowest cost and most favorable terms. Contact: 480-998-7998 or