About Utah: A guy who slices salami for a living

SALT LAKE CITY — To drill down to the secret of Tony Caputo’s success as a food purveyor extraordinaire, go back more than 30 years to a time when he was working for his old high school friend Sam Granato at Granato’s importing business.

Tony was in his early 30s, raising two young sons, Matt and Peter, with his wife, Mary, while slicing salami and working the deli counter at Granato’s.

One day he had an epiphany.

“I was about two years into the job, and it just dawned on me that I loved what I was doing,” he recalls. “I thought I had higher aspirations, that I needed to do something else, be somebody else, but I realized that wasn’t true. From then on, I wasn’t looking to be CEO of Xerox anymore. I was thrilled to death to be a deli guy.”

Eleven years later, after Granato laid him off in 1996, there was no hesitation about what to do next.

He started his own deli.

With backing from two silent partners, Dr. Dominic Albo and Chris Hase, Caputo’s Market & Deli opened on the corner of 300 West and 300 South in downtown Salt Lake City in 1997.

In the 20 years since, Caputo’s has taken its place among the city’s most popular and celebrated food places, while its namesake has become, if not a legend, at least legendary, as demonstrated last month when the Utah Restaurant Association honored Tony Caputo with its prestigious lifetime achievement award.

People still can’t get over the fact that he opened a deli across the street from Pioneer Park — home to the homeless, haven for drug dealers, easily the city’s least desirable neighbor — and turned it into such a showcase that in 2009 the National Association for Specialty Food Trade organization named Caputo’s as Outstanding Specialty Food …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

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