"When you're working every day, you're bound to have some time for it," Anthony said. "He needs to move on from it and like you got to set your pride aside and just think about the common goal and work towards it."
Even though the father and son duo work in close proximity day in and day out, they don't consider each other coworkers one bit. It's always family first. Although they structure their weeks out and try to set agendas, due to the familial nature of their operations there are a lot of audibles called and things are changed on the fly. Even though that might sound chaotic to the outside person, it's a recipe that works for the Tavernitis and their four restaurants.
"We're so family oriented, we're like the Neanderthals of professional business," Domenic said. "Like complete Neanderthals. We don't have any set meetings."
Family is at the center of everything that happens in the Taverniti group. As mentioned earlier, even all the recipes being cooked and served to the people came from Rosina herself. Although they have seen tweaks and upgrades over the years, the foundation was built through her teachings.
"My mom taught me, in the beginning, the essentials," Domenic said. "A sugo, a sauce, is the staple of all the restaurants. It's that root. With sauce, you can create any type of pasta dish."
While all restaurants do the staples really well in their own way, the showstopper for the Taverniti group is their Penne Rosina. Consisting of a creamy pink/rosé sauce, n'duja sausage and hot soppressata, it's Domenic's favourite dish to eat by far at the restaurants and is equally loved by all kinds of visiting patrons.
"It's a particular dish that everyone in this country will try to duplicate. It's often imitated but never duplicated, but they all love it," he said. "I'll give it to you — every seating that we have, we'll probably do like 10 a day."
The kind of food the restaurants serve is authentic Calabrian, owing to the family's roots in Southern Italy. What makes Calabrian food so special is its freshness, richness and spiciness. It's not something you can get bored by, according to Domenic.
The food being served has to be just right, and that kind of vision also extends to the hiring process of the cooks and chefs who wish to work at the restaurants. All Domenic asks of them is to cook him a Spaghetti Carbonara and a Spaghetti Aglio é Olio — the basics which any chef should be able to make in their sleep.
"Whoever does perfect those dishes, you're hired," Domenic said. "So you can come from a Michelin star, five-star restaurant, whatever. If you can't make me a carbonara that I like, you're not hired."
Once you're hired, you instantly become a part of the Taverniti family. It's a place where owners care for their staff and try to do whatever they can for them in times of need. And that sparks the kind of loyalty and respect that everyone has for one other.
"Even if people come in here expecting it just to be like a quick in and out job, they end up falling in love with what we do," Anthony said. "And it's sad to have my grandmother pass away because she had a good connection with everybody. You know, her story, she would sit down and talk to you, and you would sit down and listen even if you had work to do."
As for the future, the sky is the limit for the family. That could mean more restaurants and even different countries. Whatever they desire.
One main thing, however, that the father-son duo plan on doing is obtaining a centralized space for all the prep work for the four restaurants. Until very recently, all major prep was done through just one kitchen. And that includes all the doughs for pizzas, gnocchi and even lasagna. That one centralized warehouse where all the prep happens will give the restaurants much-needed space to breathe and expand, making everyone's lives easier.
While there are plans and dreams of opening more restaurants to continue the legacy Rosina Taverniti left and even expanding into the United States, the thing holding them back is limited manpower. Since it's a project so close to them, they don't feel right in just opening another branch and giving it to someone else to run. They want to have either their selves there or someone that shares the same passion and commits fully.
"Even if we find another person, or two, that have the same passion and drive that we do that want to come work hands-on, we can really open up the floodgates," Domenic said.
The family's next venture is most likely taking them south of the border to America. Domenic believes they're done with Canada and wants to venture out globally. Florida is a strong contender for a restaurant since he has a lot of good friends living there that recognize his success with the restaurants in Toronto. Also, no one really associates authentic Italian food with the state of Florida — which gives the family a lot of market space to work with and build around.
A big part of the Taverniti group's modus operandi is building up neighbourhoods around their restaurants. That is something they want to continue with through their expansions abroad. They pay attention to the surroundings and like growing alongside the communities in a symbiotic relationship — if one grows, the other grows along with it.
That is why they don't look for areas that are already busy with a lot of footfall. Instead, they pay attention to hidden locations and bring those to the forefront.