The first thing Raymond Green did when he became the owner of Pomodoro’s NASA in 2011 was go to the only microwave in the kitchen of the restaurant and throw it in the dumpster.
Green wanted everything at the Italian restaurant to be fresh, and he wanted all of the cooking to be done in the establishment’s ovens. After making deliveries for the owner, Green was ready to carry on the foundation built at Pomodoro’s while making it his own, and that included setting a certain standard.
“We’re basically a family establishment,” Green said. “We’re very relaxed, easy going. We’re just serving a good product at a decent price for our customers.”
Throughout the years, various challenges have risen from storms to the coronavirus pandemic. The Pomodoro’s team, like many restaurants across the city, had to make tough choices to keep its business functioning as best as could be under the circumstances.
One of those difficult decisions came amid the pandemic, which forced Pomodoro’s to cut pay.
General Manager Nick Roberts pulled the staff together and told his employees if they did not need the hours and were willing to volunteer to take the cuts, then to give them up so those with families or bigger financial ties could take them.
The sacrifice was done to ensure all employees kept a job, which Pomodoro’s was able to do. A big factor in getting them to buy in, Green said, had to do with the culture at the business.
“We are a big family here. ... The staff was very understanding, and they worked with each other,” Roberts said.
Another thing Pomodoro’s prides itself on is being able to deliver fresh, quality meals to its customers as well as getting its products from locally sourced vendors. This was already challenging with the pandemic and made even harder with the February freeze, but Green felt Pomodoro’s had a responsibility to stay open.
“People trust us. They know us,” he said. “That is the whole thing; we’re that community center.”
Pomodoro's serves as 'community hub' for locals
The chicken Parmesan ($6) is dipped in Parmesan breading, topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, and served over spaghetti. (Courtesy Raymond Green)