Having lived in Barrington his entire life, Tom Dioguardi knows what his customers like, quality thin crust pizza.
Dioguardi, a former employee and now owner of Primo Pizza and Catering, is serving up some of the best food in town, while always giving back to the community he’s loved for so long. With excellent customer service and a sensational pasta recipe, Dioguardi and Primo have become a staple within the area and are only looking to grow. LIVING60010 shared a slice with Dioguardi and learned more about how his love for making pizza began.
LIVING60010: When did you first start making pizza?
I believe it was 1987. I was 16 years old and passed by this restaurant in Fox River Grove with a help wanted sign in the window. I applied and eventually got a job as a pizza chef. As I continued working there into my mid 20’s, I always had this idea about owning my own place.
LIVING60010: When did Primo first open?
LIVING60010: Why did you choose Barrington as your location?
I actually started working at Primo’s when it opened in 92’ and stayed here for 18 years. The original owner and I grew up in Barrington, so when I bought this place from him five years ago, it felt natural to keep it in the neighborhood.
LIVING60010: What is the party size range for your catering services?
We serve parties ranging in size from ten people to around 200 people.
LIVING60010: What is your favorite item on the menu?
I would say the thin crust pizza. It’s what we’re known for and I believe it’s the best in town. We also sell a lot of homemade pasta, lasagna, and meatballs. Ribs are also another popular item from the menu, which is surprising coming from a pizza restaurant.
LIVING60010: What exactly is your “portable pizza oven?”
It’s a portable wood burning oven. We bring it to a lot of farmer’s markets and use it for catering at people’s homes. We offer two different catering packages; an hour and half or two hours of unlimited cooking. Every person gets to pick the sauce and toppings they want on their personal pizza. We then cook it right there in front of them, taking only two minutes before being served hot and fresh.
Our motto for catering is “Your backyard is our kitchen for the day!” People are so appreciative and impressed with the whole operation. It’s become a very interactive and rewarding experience.
LIVING60010: What is your favorite item to make?
I love making the specialty pasta we offer. Customers get to pick what kind of pasta, vegetables, and sauce they want on their order. There’s nothing better than smelling the vegetable sautéing in the frying and seeing all the ingredients come together.
LIVING60010: What do you believe makes Primo different than other pizza restaurants in the area?
Great customer service. We pride ourselves on politeness and are always looking to improve our customers’ experience here. We also use the best ingredients and make everything fresh.
LIVING60010: How long have you lived in the area?
I’ve lived here my whole life. I went to St. Anne’s and Barrington High School and now currently live about a mile away from where I grew up.
LIVING60010: What other organizations or groups are you involved with in Barrington?
We’re really involved with Barrington High School, especially their football team. They give out raffle tickets every year to win a free 10 inch pizza from us and we’ve had a solid relationship with them for the past 3 years.
We’re also sponsoring a new program at the high school called Roar. The program’s mission is to give students with special needs a chance to interact with others outside of regular school hours. These students will be taken to homecoming dances, football games, and other events. We also give coupons to Station Middle School for teachers to pass out to their students when they‘ve done well on a test or an assignment. Within the shop, we always have Cub Scout troops come in and earn their cooking badges by making their own pizzas.
LIVING60010: What is your favorite thing to do in Barrington?
There’s so many things to do in Barrington. If I had to pick one, I would say going to the Catlow Theatre. I love getting a sandwich from Baloney’s and heading next door to catch a movie. I’ve been going there ever since I was a kid.
LIVING60010: Are there any special deals to look out for with Primo?
We have daily specials and coupons circulating within different magazines.
LIVING60010: Where do you see your business in 5-10 years?
I would like to move into a bigger place and have more room for a larger sit-down eating area, enough to fit around 20 to 30 people. We get really full at lunch and see a lot of people getting their order to go simply because every table has been taken. I would never leave Barrington though.
LIVING60010: What has your relationship been like with Barrington Bank & Trust?
It’s been great, they order lunch from us all the time! We’ve been with them for awhile now and they truly believe in our product. Anytime I talk to Russ (Botwin), he’s always very helpful and gives great advice. I tell everyone to use Barrington Bank & Trust.
Primos Pizza & Catering
630 S. Northwest Hwy
Barrington, IL 60010