Tostado owner follows dreams

(Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira) The Dominican and the Cuban tostados and passion fruit and mamey smoothies from Tostados.

Tony Tavarez, owner of the local Tostados sandwich bars, left a stable corporate job to make sandwiches for his neighborhood, and he’s not looking back.

In the mid-aughts, Tavarez was working for Spanish-language network Telemundo in Houston and missing good Latin food.

He was also miserable in his corporate marketing job, where he was “only as good as his last month,” he said.

“At one point, I felt like everything I was eating and breathing was Telemundo,” Tavarez said. “As soon as I had the opportunity, I left the hamster wheel.”

In 2008, JP resident Tavarez opened the first Tostado location, at 3880 Washington St. A second location at 300 Centre St. followed in 2010.

“There’s room for expansion. We’re looking into that right now. People come from everywhere, Lynn, Lawrence, just to have a tostado,” Tavarez said. “We’re looking into putting out one of those food trucks and having it go into high-density Latino areas.”

Tavarez has even received franchising offers from as far away as Atlanta and Miami, but he said he’s not ready for that step yet.

A “tostado” is a toasted sandwich, Tavarez explained. Part of his guiding principle in creating his restaurant is that his sandwiches should be as true to the original recipes as possible—so Tavarez imports Dominican cheese to match the recipes he researched in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

His staff also never, ever serves pre-made sandwiches. It might take a little to prepare, he said, but the flavor is worth it.

“People are not stupid. They may be hungry, but they’re not stupid. If I give you a good sandwich, you’re going to come back,” he said.

And that goes so far as to using green tomatoes instead of riper, juicier red ones—to prevent take-out sandwiches from getting soggy.

“When you get it to go, it’s as crispy as you get it in the store,” Tavarez said. “I will never short-change my customers. We look for the utmost quality.”

Tostado is open seven days a week at both cash-only locations. The Centre Street location can be reached at 617-477-8691 and the Washington Street location can be reached at 617-522-0578.

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