Some regulars said they feel the quality of pizza under the new owner, G. S. Gill, a Boston-based restauranteur, has improved already.
“The crust is better. It doesn’t have the old Tommy’s aftertaste,” said Chris J. Harrington ’03, who said he eats at Tommy’s regularly.
Alex X. Berrio Matamoros ’02 agreed, saying that he didn’t like the pizzas under the old ownership.
Matamoros said he thought that the quality of pizza and service at the old Tommy’s kept people away—not the ethnic background of the owner, as Iftikhar had feared.
Iftikhar said he was worried his ethnicity was the cause of a 35 percent drop in business after Sept. 11.
Many customers said Tommy’s greatest drawing factor was—and still is—the cheap price of its pizzas.
Jake Mucklenborg, a worker at the Ferranti Dege photography store on Mass. Ave., said he’s only an occasional pizza-eater and didn’t really care about the quality of the food—“It’s cheap,” he said.
Regulars also said the new owner’s decision to include items like fish and chips on the menu was a welcome step.
Iftikhar acknowledged that the quality of food and service may have suffered under his ownership.
But now, he said, he is looking to move on. He said he is considering keeping Tommy’s Convenience open 24 hours a day and opening more convenience stores—also to be named Tommy’s—near other colleges in Boston.
Iftikhar said he prefers to stay near colleges because they are relatively safe areas and he enjoys talking to students.
“I’m not afraid of shoplifting or robbery in a college area,” he said.
With a touch of nostalgia about the year he spent running Tommy’s Pizza, Iftikhar said it was a “great experience” catering to Harvard students.
“I’m very grateful to the kids who patronized Tommy’s when I was there,” Iftikhar said.
He said the new owners should have better luck than he did.
He was “duped” into thinking that he could keep the pizzeria open till 3 a.m. when he bought it, he said, and said he ran losses because he had to close at 2 a.m.
And before he left, Iftikhar said, he made sure that the new owners were aware of what time they would have to close.
—Staff writer Ravi P. Agrawal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org