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Hidden Gems: Meet Thomas D’Ambrosio of Aioli Gourmet Burgers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Thomas D’Ambrosio.

Thomas, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
We started six years ago with one food truck for Aioli Burger. We then started Modern Tortilla Food Truck. Soon after that, we opened our first brick and mortar restaurant for Aioli Burger on 32nd Street and Shea. We then launched Oak Wood Fire Pizza Food Truck. This past year we opened a shared kitchen space that we use for all of our brands and we also have tenants.

Soon after, we opened our second brick and mortar location inside of Fry’s Market place in Litchfield Park for Aioli Burger and we also offer Modern Tortilla. We then opened our 3rd brick and mortar location for Aioli Burger on 7th street and bell road. This past year we also decided to launch Super Mac Bros Food Truck and Protein & Poke Food Truck as part of a tri-branded food truck with Modern Tortilla. As if we did not have enough on our plates, we also launched a meal prep company called Fresh Taste Meal Prep that came about during the pandemic. Our latest venture is our beverage brand AZ Lemonade Stand. We make fresh lemonade in glass mason jars. We have over 15 different flavors to choose from. We will be taking it to the wholesale market this year.

Chef Tommy was born and raised here in the valley along with his business partner Kyle Hollenbeck. Tommy went to NAU and PVCC here in Arizona. He also took his studies to Hyde Park NY at The Culinary Institute of America. He came back home to open a food truck business with his friends from high school and the rest is history. Kyle has a background in sales and marketing. His skills along with Chef Tommy have made them successful entrepreneurs.

We continue to grow our brands and look forward to getting into additional business segments to see what we can bring to the table.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Being a small business owner has and will never be a smooth road to take. If it was easy everyone would do it. Struggles that we have faced with our food trucks are mainly mechanical. Trucks break down, they need repairs constantly. We had to train ourselves on how to take care of the trucks to maintain our companies. Another struggle that we have along with a lot of other businesses right now is employee retention. We have realized that the atmosphere and tone that we create for our team really makes a difference so we continue to find ways to make our team members feel appreciated. Last but not least, the covid 19 pandemics has been a massive challenge. We lost all of our events once it hit. We had to get creative to come up with ways to keep our team members employed.

As you know, we’re big fans of Aioli Gourmet Burgers LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Our story is simple. We are three life-long friends who had one goal in mind: to create a quality product and bring it to hungry people throughout the valley. Aioli Burger started with one food truck in Phoenix, grew into three, became a full catering company, and now we have our brick and mortar location. When it came down to choosing the restaurant location, it was an easy decision. Let’s go back to where it all started: the neighborhood where we grew up, right there on 32nd Street and Shea.

Whether you’re in the mood for the juiciest hamburgers Phoenix has to offer, a fresh salad, or a refreshing shake, there is something on the menu for everyone. Aioli Burger recently made ABC 15’s list of five burgers you must try in Arizona with the truffle burger coming in at #4. Also, our food truck in Phoenix is a regular on ABC 15’s A-List for food trucks in the valley.

We feel that quality of our ingredients, gourmet flavors and great customer service is what make us THE neighborhood burger joint to visit.

We are most proud of our rapid growth over the past six years. From one truck to 3 food trucks and a trailer to three restaurants. We are also super proud of Chef Tom because did win Food Networks Chopped, episode Taco and Tequila.

We would love for them to know that we are much more than AIoli Burger, we have five food truck brands in total, a meal prep business, beverage brand and shared kitchen space. So whether they are looking to plan an event, go have a great burger or some amazing fresh lemonade, want fresh meals delivered to their door, or they are looking to start their own food truck/restaurant brand, we are here to assist!

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Yes, we have learned the value of our team members for one. Without them, our business would be nothing especially this past year. The pandemic has made our patrons extremely nervous to dine at all so making them feel safe in our spaces has taught us a lot. Due to the pandemic food prices have gone up so we have had to pivot to make it work food cost-wise.

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