Alo Mattiisen, the beloved musician and composer

The namesake of Alo Cafe originates from the beloved musician and composer from the Estonian Singing Revolution. Alo Mattiisen belongs to the dignified list of the greatest Estonian composers, many of whom were instrumental to the re-establishment of independence of Estonia on August 21st, 1991. Prior to the country’s liberation, Estonia was occupied by Soviet and Nazi authorities for nearly fifty years. Estonian people gathered publicly to sing out their frustration and loyalty to their country for nearly four years, staging peaceful protests with 200,000 citizens in attendance at their peak. An eventual coup in Russia that resulted in the toppling of the Gorbachev regime gave Estonian Parliament and freedom activist groups the opportunity to solidify their independence.

Every five years a song festival called Laulupidu is held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Over half the population shows up for it, and 10,000 choir members wearing historical regional garments from their local areas join with choirs from all over the world singing as one inside the amphitheater shell. Imagine! The conductor must have all the singers from one side to the other singing at the same time. Hilja’s Uncle, Olev Hõlpus, was one of these dirigents (conductors), and Steve’s brother Gary Distilli sings in the New York meeskoor ( men’s choir).


Our Estonian heritage is core to the creation and cause of Alo Cafe

Our Estonian heritage is core to the creation and cause of the Alo Café. Our families in Estonia fled from their homes and farms as the Soviet occupation became imminent. Our parents were the lucky ones to have been able to escape any way they could, over rooftops, to get out of Estonia. The story is a similar one for many countries that have been occupied over the centuries. As Estonians, we are very proud that no matter how many times we have been occupied by various countries seeking a warm winter port and rich and productive farm land. We have lived on the same land, spoken the same language, danced the same dances, preserved our culture and most importantly, kept singing our songs. Singing is in our souls and in our blood!

Steve Martinez, owner of Alo Cafe,  grew up in New York City where he was exposed to a variety of great food. Steve’s first full time job was at age 16 at one of the early local fast food hamburger chains (Burger & Shake) on Long Island. Opening the restaurant at 6am Monday to Friday, he cooked the hash browns, fried the donuts and prepared the store for breakfast. Steve continued his love for cooking throughout his life and in 2013 was able to locate a suitable site and open his first restaurant, Alo Cafe. The menu at Alo Cafe reflects and incorporates ideas and adaptations of regional food styles, products and specialties from his travels to countries such as Argentina, South Africa, Namibia, Spain, France and Estonia as well as cuisine from the United States and Canada. Alo Cafe unites the concept of a variety of great scratch-cooked foods with the relaxed atmosphere of, “its like I’m in someone’s home”.


Alo Cafe has been featured in “The Arizona Republic” as a Critics Top 15 pic for breakfast in Arizona.

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Alo Cafe’s Corn Beef Hash rated as one of the best in Scottsdale by “FourSquare”.

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Alo Cafe named by the “Republic” one of the 20 breakfast spots to grab French Toast.

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We are open on occasional evenings for theme based special dinners.

Visit the Events Page for more information