3-Minute Interview: Adriano Paganini

The chef — a native of Milan, Italy, and current San Francisco resident — owns Pomodoro. Formerly called Pasta Pomodoro, the chain of neighborhood Italian eateries — many in the Bay Area — is also boasting a new and improved menu and wine list, and updated décor.

Why are you changing the name of your restaurant? There always was confusion about whether we only do pasta.

To what do you attribute your success, particularly in providing good food at reasonable prices? I’m a chef. I’m a survivor. I’ve learned a lot of technique, and that ingredients aren’t necessarily expensive.

Are there advantages to running a group of eateries? Yes. There’s advantage in buying power and you’re able to pass on savings to customers. Also, there's a lack of waste; we have a good system to cut down on waste.

The food at Pomodoro is already good. What are you doing to make it better? There’s always something to improve. Our chicken now is Fulton Valley Farms free-range, and we have a new Bolognese. We used to use ground meat; now we roast it in pieces, then shred it, then cook it again.

What are the changes with the wine? We're importing wine from small producers; 20 percent is exclusive to us. Why not bring in something more unique? We have a clientele that trusts us.

Will you expand the chain? We're fine at this level, maybe a few more in the Bay Area. I do think it would become a bad thing if we were at every corner.

Do you have a favorite dish at Pomodoro? Ah, I order everything. It depends on the mood I'm in.

lkatz@examiner.com

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