About Tom Pagano
My name is Tom Pagano, and I am originally from New Jersey. I moved to Humboldt County in 1971, attended college until I opened my first restaurant in 1973. In my restaurant career, I owned and operated two restaurants in Humboldt County, was Executive Chef of two other very successful restaurants and worked the kitchen at a renowned restaurant in Berkeley, California. That successful and highly enjoyable career spanned 18 years.
Then in 1991 I started Tomaso's Specialty Foods & Distributing. Tomaso's manufactured pasta sauces, frozen foods, salsa, and salad dressings. I also distributed hundreds of other Hispanic, Asian, and Natural and Organic foods throughout Humboldt County. In 2020 I sold my business after 29 years of a very successful operation. It is still operating today.
As your consultant, I will help make your food business more successful and profitable. I will evaluate the general operations of the business. I will advise on the flavors and presentation of your food service products, consult on advertising, menus, food costs, procedures, recipe development, food trends, design and decor. I will generously offer my time and expertise providing you with a recipe for success in your food service or manufacturing business.
My Track Record is extensive. I owned and operated Tomaso's Tomato Pies for 7 years in Eureka CA, a pizza and italian food restaurant. The business sold 4 times and operated for another 25 years.
Myself, my partners along with a local artist created Ramones Opera Alley Cafe. After 3 years I sold the restaurant to my partners Barbara and Berit, and they owned it for another 8 years. Ramones Bakery, a famous bakery branched off from it and is still in operation today.
While living in the Bay Area for a few years, I worked at the famed Fourth Street Grill in Berkeley. I worked at all the stations in the kitchen. I grew professionally and thrived in this lively and highly creative environment.
Upon returning to Humboldt County, I joined the development team for Abruzzi and Plaza Grill in Arcata. I was Executive Chef, developed the menu, kitchen design and procedures for all food services. I hired and trained all kitchen personnel. Abruzzi lasted 32 years and was deemed the most successful restaurant in Arcata, CA history.
For Plaza Grill, I developed the menu and kitchen layout, oversaw food service operations, set up special events, buffets and developed catering menus. This high-class bar is still in operation today.
Manufacturing and Distribution Background
My long-running, successful business, Tomaso's Specialty Foods & Distributing had it’s humble beginnings at the Foodworks in Arcata. I created all recipes for food manufacturing and hired all employees. I then designed and built a 2500 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and a 2000 sq. ft. warehouse, operated 3 delivery trucks, managed 7 employees, oversaw all operations of the business, and expanded it constantly for 29 years.
I catered weddings, private parties, and private dinners. Over the years I’ve done some small, short working stints at the Ingomar Club (Executive Chef), Waterfront Restaurant, Lazio's, Pierson's Building Supplies Snack Bar, Roy’s Club and the Far Side Cafe.