Frankie Tomatto came to Canada in 1974 as a young man, ready to start a new life in the wonderful country of Canada. A land of opportunity, where he believed hard work would pay off handsomely for him and his future family.
His first job, back in the 70's, was as a pizza maker at Frank Vetere's Pizzeria on College St. in downtown Toronto. Here, Frankie learned the business, polished his English and observed what Canadians wanted. He worked his way up from pizza maker to production cook and finally Chef of the restaurant. All the while, listening and watching everything around him. He learned that Canadians liked lots of different toppings on their pizza, that they liked large portions and used restaurants to celebrate family celebrations, conduct business meetings and as an entertainment venue. He enjoyed seeing customers enjoy themselves.
One of his major accomplishments was to bringing his brother Paulo over from Italy to join him in Canada. He wanted to bring the whole family, but that never came to be. His younger brother Paulo worked as a waiter at Frank Vetere's for many years. He later returned to their town near Livorno in the Tuscany region of Italy to help run the family farm.
Many a night, Paulo and Frankie would talk about the restaurant business, what kind of restaurant they would like to open, and how it would work. Frankie saved his money, worked very hard, all the time believing he would open his own establishment one day. That day finally came in 1994, Nov. 24th to be exact, in Markham, Ontario on a major traffic artery, Woodbine Avenue.
It was a restaurant and bar before, and Frankie was able to scrape together enough of his savings, a loan from his brother Paulo, and assistance from some food suppliers to open Frankie Tomatto's All You Can Eat Italian Feast! The 425 seat buffet was the first of its' kind to open in Canada. It featured 14 food stations, 10 separate dining rooms and 80 eager and talented staff.
When Frankie opened, he had no idea how busy or successful it would be. His belief and the premise was to cook in small batches out in the piazza so that the food would be hot and fresh and give customers great value for their money. Frankie strongly believed that Italian food was universally accepted and appreciated by all nationalities and that the Greater Toronto Area would love the concept.
He was right..........he just didn't know how much he was right. Frankie's was a smash hit .....a grand slam right from the beginning. So much so, it literally grew every week after week for the first year. The hardest part was keeping up with the influx of new customers. The original staff of 80 grew to close to 200 in 1995. Volumes were so high that production shifts had to be added from midnight to 8 am just to keep up. Two physical expansions took place within the first calender year to facilitate what was coming through the doors.
Frankie has a lot to be thankful for. He believes he is truly blessed to have been able to come to this wonderful country, with such opportunity and freedoms that allowed a young italian immigrant from a small village in Italy to experience all that Canada has to offer. Frankie Tomatto's is now in its eighteenth year and has served more than 8,000,000 meals.........
Frankie Tomatto's..........a true Canadian success story.
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