Atlantic Poke owner in Shrewsbury opens second store in Marlboro
By Barbara M. Houle
When Michael Tomaiolo opened Atlantic Poke at Lakeway Commons in Shrewsbury in July 2018, he knew he wanted to expand the concept as soon as possible.
He really took his business plan seriously last month, opening Atlantic Poke, 237 Boston Post Road W, Marlboro, in a mall across from the Apex Center. Tomaiolo, from Shrewsbury, is aware that some people might see this as a risky proposition for expansion in 2021, a time of transition and rebuilding for the industry, but he had the confidence to move on. the front.
âI live for the challenge,â Tomaiolo said with a smile. Space in Marlboro is very manageable, he said, and the location offers plenty of parking. “A winning, winning business.”
As a nationwide shortage of restaurant workers emerges, Tomaiolo said he is fortunate to have enough staff at both restaurants. âSeveral employees live in Worcester and Shrewsbury and can move from one place to another if necessary,â said Tomaiolo, who replaces the two companies, mostly helping in the kitchen. FYI: He continues to hire summer assistants in Marlboro.
Shrewsbury and Marlboro Atlantic Poke have the same menu and decor. Guests build their own poke bowl (POH-keh), based on a variety of ingredients such as white sushi rice, brown rice or mixed greens and supplements, protein, gravy, and toppings . Choose from tuna, salmon, shrimp, chicken or organic vegan tofu and add other ingredients, such as edamame, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, seaweed, corn, cilantro (and more) to complete the bowl.
There are also a variety of sauces like spicy mayonnaise, traditional, wasabi soy, ginger, and crab salad. The Atlantic is the restaurant’s star bowl. Other bowl choices include Wasabi Tuna, Plant-Based Superstar, Chicken and Shrimp, and Land Lover.
The menu is gluten-free, according to Tomaiolo, who said it contains no dairy, no nuts, and no peanuts. He attributes the success of his Shrewsbury restaurant not only to “delicious and healthy food” but also to customer satisfaction and cleanliness. Tomaiolo straddles health and sanitation. âCleanliness should be a top priority when it comes to running your restaurant,â he said.
A loyal customer base has bolstered take-out amid the pandemic, according to Tomaiolo, who expressed his gratitude. Take out and delivery are available at both locations. Hours in Shrewsbury and Marlboro: 11 am to 7:30 pm, Monday to Friday; 11:30 am to 7:30 pm Saturday and Sunday. Phone: Shrewsbury, (508) 377-4441; Marlboro, (508) 480-5020. Visit www.atlantic.poke.com or connect on social media.
Tomaiolo thanks his wife, Julia, for helping to manage both operations, calling her the âbackboneâ of the business. âWith two young children and now two businesses, we are very busy parents,â said Tomaiolo. “The most important thing for us is that we spend family time with the children.”
In a 2019 Meet the Chef column published in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Tomaiolo said he has been around food all his life. His great-uncles and his grandfather owned the former restaurant and banquet hall at White Cliffs, a historic landmark in Northboro. His cousins ââown and operate AJ Tomaiolo’s restaurant in Northboro and Leo’s Ristorante in Worcester.
The restaurateur estimates that restaurants will rebound in 2021. “The recovery will certainly take time,” said Tomaiolo. âIt takes hard work and the owners face more challenges, but nationally there is a will to survive,â he said. “I think most owners will say it’s never been easy to be in the restaurant industry, but this past year will likely be the worst in its history.”
Despite the pandemic, Tomaiolo continues with an optimistic mood.
Drop by one of its restaurants and enjoy a healthy approach to fast, casual dining.
Jeremiah’s Inn food drive on tap
Show your support for Jeremiah’s Inn and its annual summer food drive on June 7-13.
The 27th Food Drive will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Shaw’s Supermarket – Gold Star, 14 West Boylston St., Worcester, where there will be collection boxes on-site for donations and non-perishable items.
K-LOVE Radio staff will join the food drive staff and volunteers until 2 p.m. on both days. There will be music, games and gifts!
If you can’t make it to Shaw, the Price Chopper at 221-223 Park Ave., Worcester, and the Price Chopper, 50 Cambridge St., Worcester, will have donation collection boxes in their stores throughout the food drive week, according to Alyssa Dancause, communications coordinator for Jeremiah’s Inn.
Message from Jeremiah Inn CEO Janelle Wilson: âJeremiah’s Inn is transforming the lives of those affected by the effects of hunger and substance use disorders (SUD) through programs that celebrate diversity and the intrinsic value of all individuals, and through community education that builds awareness and advocates for those in need. Since 1996, Jeremiah’s Inn has been licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, to operate a men’s residential recovery program. He has helped over 100 men a year on their recovery journey from addiction.
âJeremiah’s Inn operates a nutrition center and pantry through which donated food will be distributed,â Wilson said. âThe COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the demand for their emergency food uses. The number of new customers in 2020 increased by almost 300%. These families need our support!
For a list of the most requested food items, or for donation information, visit www.jeremiahsinn.com/food-drive.
Additional Food Drive Sponsors: First Baptist Church of Worcester, Country Bank, Herlihy Insurance Group, POBCO Inc., IBEW Local 96, Masterman’s Safety and Industrial Supply Company, UniBank Sterling, Bay State Savings Bank, Cornerstone Bank, John E. Wornham Charitable Gift Fund, Millbury Federal Credit Union, Teamster’s Union Local 170, William F. Lynch Co.
Problems for restaurants and diners
Last-minute restaurant cancellations and no-shows have reportedly increased across the country during COVID-19, with some restaurants now charging customers an upfront fee when booking.
A local owner recently said some people are making reservations at three or four different restaurants, deciding at the last minute where they will go.
With the return to full restoration capacity, there is another problem.
A local guest shared his story: After waiting 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for meals to be served at a restaurant in town, the guest who had made dinner reservations demanded the check. âThe staff finally came to the table to say that the kitchen would eventually arrive with our order, attributing the delay to the shortage of employees,â the guest said. “It’s not the customer’s right,” she said, “but the fact that the restaurant asked for reservations only. The place was busy, but not full. It wasn’t the best service. friendliest I have met. We left because we weren’t sure when our meals would be ready. We thought another 30-45 minutes at best.
Restaurants are struggling to hire new staff, including chefs, to keep up with demand. Remember this when you go to the scene.
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