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From the Barberton Herald - March 21, 2015

Tomaso's Celebrates 40 years

Tomaso's Italian Villa restaurant on Barber Road could very well be named Tomaso's Family Restaurant. For since its founding in 1973, Tomaso's has been family-owned and operated, and many of the patrons are considered part of the family.

Betty Thomas, a very young and vibrant 74, recalled the restaurant's history. “It all started in 1954 when my parents, Les and Angie Hilner, bought Phil's Pizza on Fourth Street, NW. They renamed it Angie's after my mother,” she said.

“I worked there while I was in high school,” Betty said. “So did my high school sweetheart, Bill.”

By the early 1970s, Angie's had outgrown its space and lacked sufficient parking, so the family decided to take the plunge and build a new restaurant on Barber Road.

“We realized taking on such a large project was a bit risky,” Betty said, “but we were all confident it would be a success and it has been. Now, here we are, 40 years later.”

Betty's parents passed away in the mid-1990s and husband Bill died in 1990, but the family carried on the tradition.

The three Thomas children grew up helping at the restaurant and still do. Son Greg and daughter Kym Rohrbach are there as time permits, and youngest daughter Lezlie Oliver is the manager.

“When you're in the restaurant business, there's no doubt you're married to it,” Betty said. “The hours are long and vacations are virtually unheard of. But in our case, it has allowed for a lot of family togetherness, and for me, that's been the most rewarding part of it,” she said.

“We've had our ups and downs, but when you see some long-time customers bringing their grandchildren in, well, I guess that's when you know you're doing things the right way,” Betty said. “Quality and consistency, those are the keys to success.”

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