Tony grew up in Springfield, Illinois and lived there until he finished high school. He originally joined the restaurant industry while still in school, getting a job at the local Dairy Queen to save up money for a car. What first started as a job of utility soon turned into a passionate career path. Tony realized quickly that he had not only a knack for the restaurant industry, but that the fast paced environment and atmosphere was well suited to his personality. Indeed, Tony spent much of his younger years traveling, spending time in Montana, Key West, and Africa before settling down in North Carolina in 2000; a decision he made in order to be in close proximity to both the beach and the mountains. Tony quickly got a job working as a line cook at Michael Dean’s, where he met Sean Degnan and Todd Ohle. It was these friendships and job opportunity that really enabled Tony to fast track his career. Tony went on to work for several different restaurants under the Rocky Top umbrella- Bogarts, Hi-5, and Twisted fork before finally becoming the Executive Chef at The Red Room. He continued to work for this restaurant company until he and Sean were able to realize their dream of opening their own restaurant. bu•ku opened its doors in 2010 and the pair haven’t looked back since. They are in the process of expanding their business, working on opening two new restaurants in the Triangle within the next year. In between running his current business and opening two new ones, Tony has also found the time to start a family. He and his wife, Ellen were married in 2012 (and held their reception at bu•ku). The couple also have two young children- Amelia and Henry.
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