Tomato Head’s 25th Birthday

Sometimes, things just fall together.

While the pizzas and burritos you get today from the Tomato Head come from well-crafted ideas and careful calculations, it all started with an engineer who decided to do something bold. 25 years ago in August, Mahasti Vafaie left her career as an engineer, thinking of attending medical school. Instead, she found herself sitting in French café named La Madeline in New Orleans with her mother, realizing a dream to own her own restaurant.

She didn’t start off with pizza in mind.

The opportunity presented itself when the building she rented in Market Square came with pizza equipment. She wasn’t known to be a pizza chef. Yet she was (and is) a talented chef, filled with a passion, and a smart head on her shoulders to open her own pizza joint, remodeling and cleaning it up herself for under $10,000.

By the young age of 27, Mahasti’s Flying Tomato, the former name of the Tomato Head, was already one of the favorites in downtown eating, known for its unique pizza crust. It only sat about 50 people, less when there was live music, but people crowded in for good food, made with healthy ingredients.

There were only seven people on the first staff. Mahasti made all of the bread herself, every morning at 7:30, working countless hours. 25 years later, she and her husband, Scott, have overseen a remodel of the original Market Square location, opened a new store on Kingston Pike, and are able to give back to the community through the Loving Spoonful program.

All of this, while keeping to the basic philosophy that fresh, healthy foods make the best meals; the meals that they would want to feed themselves and their children.

We would like to celebrate 25 years of spinning ‘zza, and we want you to be a part of it. This is as much of a celebration for Mahasti as it is for everyone who has walked through our doors. To say thanks, we are throwing a party on Market Square, featuring live music and more on August 29th from 5-10 p.m. We’ll also be sharing our special Anniversary Brew that evening, and celebrating the musical talents of some of our favorite locals. More details are coming later in the summer, but you won’t want to miss this party. Here’s to you, thanks for 25 years.


Back to the Basics 2015 copy