Fabulous People: Melissa Maggiore Meyer

Melissa Maggiore Meyer is a restaurateur in California and Arizona, and the daughter of Sicilian-born chef Tomaso Maggiore. This tenacious single mother and business owner is an inspiration. Read more about Melissa Maggiore Meyer…

First Job: Growing up in the restaurant business, my first job was as a hostess at Tomaso’s at 32nd & Camelback. At 12 years old I was seating guests, bussing tables, and troubleshooting guest issues. I grew up in that restaurant.  The staff become one big family, as did the clientele. Some of our closest family friends were customers. Locals and celebrities alike would fill those rooms, and my father taught me that everyone was a VIP. I attribute my communication skills and the ability to think quick on my feet to those days. At nighttime I would push two restaurant chairs together, using a tablecloth as a blanket, and went to sleep while waiting for my parents to close up.

Favorite Arizona Restaurant:  Of course Tomaso’s in Phoenix holds a very special place in my heart, and I love Hash Kitchen! However, if I had to pick a restaurant other than family owned, I would have to pick Tarbell’s. I think Mark Tarbell is extremely talented, and the longevity of his success in the valley speaks to not only his talent, but his capacity to evolve with time.

Your biggest accomplishment: I believe my biggest accomplishment was raising two amazing kids as a single mother, while opening and running a restaurant.

The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Unfortunately in 2007 I went through an extremely difficult time. I was left to raise my two kids on my own, and completely start over. I had a decision to make; be a victim, or a survivor. I chose the latter. With the love and support of my family and friends I was able to pick up the pieces. I learned a very valuable lesson through those hard times. When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello!

Person who has impacted your life the most: My family has had the biggest impact on my life. Growing up in a strong Italian family, I always had the confidence to take risks, go on adventures, and be who I wanted to be, while having the comfort of knowing my parents and my brother Joey would always be by my side.  Even today we are each other’s biggest support system.

Someone who inspires you: My father is a major inspiration in my life. Not only did he emigrate to this country with nothing more than $100 in his pocket, but he was able to live his American Dream. He has owned and operated over 40 restaurants, but still today at 72 years old is working in the kitchen seven days a week. He gets up at 5 a.m., walks five miles, and gets to the restaurant to hand make ravioli and all of his sauces from scratch. His work ethic is unparalleled.

Favorite quote:  “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Advice to someone starting in this business: You have to love what you do, because it is one of the toughest businesses around. Even with love and passion, at times it can break you. Don’t give up. Stay true to who you are. Do everything you do with integrity, and remember…….the customer is always right.

What you think makes someone fabulous:  Authenticity, confidence, modesty and kindness.


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