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Thoughts from Tom Cortopassi

Sharing Success:

Fundamentals for Business Success (and life in general…)!

I have a good friend, John, who owns and operates a great business. Over the years he has shared many interesting business concepts with me, but I especially like how he describes his fundamentals for business success: “Show up, return your calls, and do what you said you would do.”


Jasper’s RISTORANTE, Kansas City, MO

At Jasper’s Ristorante, four generations of the Mirabile (Mee-rah-bee-lay) family have satisfied Kansas City, MO, locals for nearly 70 years! Over that time, the restaurant has grown and expanded from a humble trattoria to a four-diamond ristorante complete with tuxedoed waiters.

As the ristorante grew upscale, the family added a delicatessen with its own entrance called Marco Polo Italian Market. There, regulars buy everything from Italian cheese to crunchy, ready-to-fill cannoli shells and steaming hot sausage, onion, and pepper sandwiches!

Key Idea – Chef-owner Jasper Mirabile says that Covid was a double-edged sword. Closing the dining room for a time was tough. Meanwhile, deli sales went through
the roof and have remained high thanks to the popularity of online ordering. Rather than a “% commission” model, their online orders remain profitable because they are processed through their POS for a flat $1.50 fee.

Thinking Outside of the Box

At age 18, Joe Tuzzio began running his family’s Long Branch, NJ, restaurant, Tuzzio’s Italian Cuisine for 50 straight years. Upon his well-deserved retirement at 68, Joe called La Trattoria to share some of his best business-building ideas with his fellow Independents.

Key IdeaNever wait for business to come to you. When Joe’s dad fell ill and young Joe originally stepped in to run the business, he was impatient to build sales. Joe discovered that offsite catering made profitable use of the kitchen outside of busy dinner hours by allowing most pre-prep to happen early in the day.

Speed Scratch Cooking

Facing tight kitchen labor, Chef David Sammarco still insists on cooking his premium seafoods and meats to order.

Key Idea – But David “front loads” as much advance preparation as possible. He pre-portions individual servings of raw proteins, like his medley of fresh shrimp, scallops, and calamari together, in ziplock bags. He also parcooks and pre-portions pasta servings. Then by keeping these “speed scratch” components within easy reach during dinner, David can rapidly marry each dish’s pre-portioned protein and
sauce in a hot skillet and then toss-in pasta to warm it to perfect “al dente” firmness.

David Sammarco, Chef
The Heights Pub
Arlington, MA

La Vera Cucina:

Kay’s Linguine, Shrimp, and Greens

At Linguine’s Italian Restaurant, Vinny Desiderio has long satisfied Buffalo, NY, locals with highly flavorful Italian specialties. A personal favorite is his mother Kay’s Linguine, Shrimp, and Greens which contrasts fresh scampi with the tang of freshly chopped escarole. Vinny loves preparing this dish because its aroma reminds him of watching his mother Kay prepare his favorite after school snack!