Tom DiForti, owner of Tom's Taste of Chicago, a food truck in Ocala, FL, offers Chicago-style comfort food for any age - plus a loaded hotdog like no other.
I moved to Florida in 2013 and couldn't find any AUTHENTIC Chicago Foods!" Tom DiForti, owner of Tom's Taste of Chicago in Ocala, FL.
We had just attended the Gentle Carousel Miniature Horse Reading is Magic Program, and were in need of some grub.
On a budget, we kept it simple and ordered three $2.99 all-beef dogs, and a caffeinated Diet Coke for me :)
In a nutshell, my boys enjoyed the hotdogs and want to go back for more!
While we ate, a team of Ocala electricians stopped by for lunch. By the way they spoke to Tom, it was apparent they were regulars.
And why wouldn't they be?
Tom's humble nature, coupled with his love for Chicago-style comfort food, makes the two-year-old business, Tom's Taste of Chicago, a convenient stop for workers, tourists, and parents alike.
I had the chance to check in with Tom later about how Tom's Taste of Chicago came to be, how business changed last year, and more.
Check out NewsBreak's exclusive Q and A (edited for clarity) with Tom below:
Q. How did Tom's Taste of Chicago come to be?
A. "I moved to Florida in 2013 and couldn't find any AUTHENTIC Chicago Foods! (I wanted Italian Beef Sandwiches, Chicago Dogs, Pizza Puffs, etc.)
So In 2019, I had the opportunity to open my own food truck, and I ran with it.
That's when Tom's Taste of Chicago was born."
Q. How did Tom's Taste of Chicago get its name?
A. "I wanted to bring a "Taste of Chicago" to Ocala!"
(And his name is Tom, LOL.)
Q. What are your top-selling items, and why?
A. "Our Italian Beef Sandwiches (a Chicago delicacy).
It's made with our Italian-style roast beef that's simmered in au jus and served on a French roll soaked in au jus gravy!
Nobody does it as authentic as Tom's.
And then, there's our, as we say back home, "drag it through the garden" (meaning - load it up with condiments), Chicago Dogs.
Our All Beef Vienna Dog is topped with mustard, onions, peppers, tomatoes, neon green relish, a pickle slice, and a dash of celery - all on a steamed poppy seed bun."
Q. Why do you like working at Tom's Taste of Chicago?
A. "Well, me being the owner, I enjoy bringing an authentic taste of Chicago to Florida!"
Q. How does the company give back to the community?
A. "We provide a place to get good comfort food at an affordable price for families."
Q. What was Tom's Taste of Chicago's biggest challenge last year?
A. "Making it through the Covid-19 Pandemic and dealing with rising food costs as well as food shortage issues."
Q. Do you have an interesting story about your biz you would like to share?
A. "During 2020's Bike Week, when I was located at my Ocala National Forest location, around 30 riders from Canada stopped by for food at once.
My brother and I were a bit overwhelmed and humbled that they all came to support us."
Q. Where would you like to see your company in the future?
A. "Doing more events and hopefully going brick and mortar."
Q. Where can our readers find you?
The Bottom Line
If you're looking for authentic Chicago-style food in Florida, Tom's Taste of Chicago is it.
This Ocala food truck provided my sons and me with a quick lunch for under $15 and offers comfort food for all ages.
So check out Tom's Taste of Chicago in Ocala, buy a dog (or three), and don't forget to give Tom a big, cuddly hello. He deserves it!
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