Tom & Eddie’s is celebrating two years since its Lombard restaurant first opened on Aug. 27, 2010, at The Shops on Butterfield, 348 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard.
Special promotions are planned for customers. The first 15 people whose birthday is Aug. 27 will receive a free birthday entrée, redeemable at all locations. To extend the birthday celebration all week – from Monday, Aug. 27 to Saturday, Sept. 1 – double loyalty points will be awarded on Tom & Eddie’s Loyalty Cards, also at all locations.
Taking place only in Lombard is a special promotion that offers free goodie bags to the first 50 customers on Aug. 27. For the ladies, gift certificates for $20 toward a manicure, pedicure and haircolor will be given out from Asha Salon Spa next door to Tom & Eddie’s Lombard.
In addition, a magician will dazzle Lombard guests from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27.
“We are committed to giving our guests the best,” said Ed Rensi, president and co-founder of Tom & Eddie’s, “and that means affordable meals, the freshest ingredients and warm hospitality that, all together, create a relaxed and happy dining experience.”
Looking back at year number two
The founders – Tom Dentice and Ed Rensi – knew opening four restaurants in the first year would be daunting, but the high 90s satisfaction ratings customers consistently give is proof that meticulous planning pays off. Restaurants are in Lombard, Geneva, Deerfield and Vernon Hills.
“Ed and I have been doing this for a few years,” Dentice said, referring to their combined 70 years experience with McDonald’s. “Although Tom & Eddie’s is very different from McDonald’s, both of us learned a lot from our experience there.”
In 1984, Rensi was named CEO of McDonald’s USA, a position he held until 1998, and Dentice is the former executive vice president in charge of Operations and Training. Each man started as a trainee in single drive-up hamburger stands, making less than a dollar an hour. A couple of decades later, they became top executives with the world’s most successful quick service restaurant company.
Dentice and Rensi’s top priority was, and remains, taste and flavor from fresh ingredients. The tomatoes are fresh; so is the meat. The French fries are hand cut by Tom & Eddie’s chefs immediately before frying.
They also committed themselves to working with as many local vendors as possible. For example, Chicago-based Turano breads makes a hamburger bun specifically for Tom & Eddie’s, and Tom & Eddie’s pickles are from Puckered Pickles in Chicago.
But a good burger, the partners agree, is all about the meat.
“It’s surprising how many people actually don’t know how to make a burger,” Dentice said. “It has to do with grill temperature, searing, and the quality of the meat. We use patties of fresh, never frozen, 100 percent Angus Chuck, and our chefs hand form them right before they’re cooked.”
“If there’s one compliment we hear consistently, it’s that our customers can taste the meat,” Dentice said. “In fact, our co-founder Vince Naccarato says our meat is so good that a half pound burger should be a menu standard. We listened. We now offer Half Pound Mondays at third-pound prices. We get compliments, too, about the flavor of our non-beef burgers – the turkey, edamame and Ahi Tuna burgers.”
A few things did surprise these two hamburger veterans. Their customer base includes more families than they expected. Dentice thinks perhaps it’s Tom & Eddie’s strong support of local non-profit educational organizations.
To date, Tom & Eddie’s has donated many thousands of dollars to the Culinary and Hospitality Center at College of DuPage, the Geneva Academic Foundation, the Batavia Foundation for Educational Excellence, the Deerfield Education Foundation, the Stevenson High School Foundation and the District 128 Foundation for Learning.
“Before we opened our first restaurant, Ed and I decided that it is our responsibility to support the local communities where we do business,” Dentice said. “We felt we could have a significant and long term impact supporting local organizations focused on children and young adults in the areas of education, health and well being.”
“It’s all about hospitality,” Rensi said. “From the décor to the quality wooden toys to the menu, we put good taste in everything we do.”
Later this fall, Tom & Ed will open their fifth Tom & Eddie’s in Naperville. They are adding new and improved menu items, and they are thinking of more limited time offers. In the meantime, Dentice and Rensi will continue their homemade sauces, concentrating on fresh and local; the “no tipping” policy; green packaging and going the extra mile for customers.
“Two things differentiate us,” Rensi said. “We focus on fresh ingredients with a strong emphasis on local. That’s one. The other is our hospitality. Frankly, the entire organization powers us up, and it’s energizing. It’s like having a party every day. I am reminded of the phrase: ‘The work of children is play; the play of adults is work.’ We want to build a lot of restaurants. It’s a rebirth every time, and it’s thrilling.”
For more information, visit http://www.tomandeddies.com.