Customer Spotlight: Bar Pazzo

Owner and chef John Tabone claims, “It takes a rare breed to choose the restaurant industry and make it their profession.” Tabone and partners Sam Agolino and Corinne Agolino Salko brought their culinary vision to life through rustic-style, Italian restaurant Bar Pazzo. The three not only wanted to offer exclusive products unique to the area, but they also aimed to present a particularly distinct environment. Bar Pazzo’s décor is modern and chic with an urban feel. The open, energetic kitchen where customers can watch the chefs prepare meals from start to finish generates a vital atmosphere that keeps customers engaged, entertained, and eager to return for more.

Completely Italian-inspired, Bar Pazzo’s menu features a variety of seasonal ingredients with authentic, regional Italian cuisine ranging from southern to northern Italy as well as Sicily. Cooking house-made, Italian-inspired cuisine requires the proper tools and equipment. Bar Pazzo was built around two wood burning Mugnaini Italian ovens that weigh approximately 2,000 pounds each and are beautifully tiled in fire engine red. “Cooking with and maintaining the oven is an art that comes with many years of repetition,” said Tabone. Their Neapolitan-style pizzas are made using red winter wheat flour, and are carefully cooked in 700°F and 900°F ovens. These old-fashioned ovens are not limited to pizzas. Items across the menu such as hot antipasti, wood fired entrées, fresh bread, and desserts are also prepared in the Italian ovens to create exquisite, fresh-from-the-oven meals. The delicately handcrafted pastas range from plin to pappardelle and are made from 00 flour, an incredibly fine flour milled in Italy. If customers can’t decide which house-made pasta they want to order, they can choose to try a taste of all three! The most popular plates include the Margherita and Calabrese Pizzas, Sicilian Inspired Octopus, and the all-time customer favorite, the signature meatballs, or Polpette, that sell better than any item on the menu. Chefs update about half of the menu twice per season by collaborating, establishing an idea board, and creating a timeline of implementation. Labor, reputation, efficiency, education, costs, and execution are some of the many factors that play into the process of refining the menu.

Bar Pazzo prepares salumi, the Italian term for charcuterie, in-house, making for a noteworthy menu component. Guests admire the shareable and build-your-own features of Bar Pazzo’s charcuterie program, as they can choose to order four, seven, or all ten of the salumi options for differing price points. The options contain a contrasting selection of mild and spicy salumi and formaggi (cheeses). When asked what advice he would offer other operations implementing charcuterie programs, Tabone suggested focusing on sanitation, as “It is imperative in every butcher shop or professional kitchen that handles raw meat and meat grinders. It’s also critical to understand the science behind your charcuterie program, as there are different types of curing salts and molds that must be carefully measured for safety reasons.” Lastly, Tabone recommended to “Start with whole muscles such as pancetta, coppa, and breasola. These muscles are more profitable and less labor intensive.”

An elaborate wine list is a necessity at a sophisticated Italian eatery. Beyond the exquisite food and inviting atmosphere, Bar Pazzo’s generous wine list with a variety of authentic Italian libations sets their operation apart from the competition. They put great emphasis on their wine program. With their own sommelier, Dominic Mariancci, they can showcase their diverse, exclusive, all Italian wine list that provides great selections to customers.

The staff at Bar Pazzo believes Maines operations, facility,
and services are second to none. Maines shared high standards for quality food, sanitation, and customer service has the most positive impact on the restaurant and has made Maines the perfect partner for them. Tabone said, “Our Maines Territory Manager, Cara Cacioppo, is always seeking out new items and trending ideas to introduce to us. Working with her has been a pleasure.”

“The restaurant industry chooses its ambassadors, not the other way around,” said Tabone. “When it comes to running a restaurant, a relentless work ethic while executing menus, overseeing operations, and managing costs are obviously important jobs, but what is often overlooked are the intangibles. You must inspire and motivate a positive work environment every time you step foot into the building. Your employees must enjoy their job and be a reflection of your vision.” As an executive chef, partner, and teacher, Tabone stays up to date with the evolving industry so he can be ready to answer any questions during his private, educational program known as Instinctive Cooking. Instinctive Cooking teaches culinary enthusiasts of all ages to learn professional cooking methods and how to apply them in their own residential kitchens. This program translates into Bar Pazzo with the recent launch of Sunday night classes that have been very well received by customers.

The partners of Bar Pazzo pride themselves on being chef-driven, constantly pushing the envelope to leave a long-lasting impression on their guests. Now in their second year of business, they still have several ideas in the fire such as themed brunches, additional cooking classes, and regional Italian wine dinners. At Bar Pazzo, they continue to learn, teach, and serve sophisticated, delicious Italian cuisine while keeping as fresh and current as possible and enjoying the ride.

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