Tom White was backpacking across Europe when he met another American who told him that he was taking one last big trip before starting chef’s school back in the States. “There’s a school for that?” asked White, incredulous. Not long afterward, he graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and never looked back. His cooking career took him from Napa Valley wineries to fine restaurants in Los Angeles.
After working for some great people, but also enduring some who made coming to work a burden, White decided that if he was going to stay in the business for the long haul he’d have to find a way to be his own boss. He returned to his home state of New Mexico and, with longtime friends Greg Atkin and Rick Post, opened two full-service Italian restaurants that came to be ranked among the best-known in the state.
Bringing A Taste of Europe to New Mexico
But Chef White wanted to bring another taste of Italy to New Mexico: authentic wood-oven pizza in a casual setting. And so Il Vicino was born. “The focus of Il Vicino is definitely food,” he says. “I worked in Italy for a year and I can say that it measures up in every way. The biggest compliments we get are from people who travel – they say it’s the best pizza they’ve had outside of Europe.”
With praise like that, it’s no wonder that now there are Il Vicino pizzerias in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Wichita, Kansas. All offer diners a delicious trip to Italy for the modest price of a pizza dinner.
What Shamrock Foods Brings to the Table
“Shamrock Foods has been a true partner. It’s the culture of the business, and the effort and service you get from the sales staff that separates Shamrock Foods from other distributors. Our Sales Representative, Krystal Burrow, is an absolute rock star! She and her team really look out for us on so many levels. They always keep us informed of seminars and tours. They make sure we have all the relevant information we need through their various business outreaches. The list goes on and on.
“Shamrock Foods consultant services are also a huge help. We run a pretty lean operation. Our managers have a lot of responsibilities and wear several hats. ShamrockORDERS and Menu Wizard are tools that save them a huge amount of time and make it much more efficient to keep track of monthly changes that affect costs.”
Learn more about White’s Italy-inspired concept at ilvicino.com
Photo Credit – Eric Swanson
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