Tommy's Gone And Gen's Here
By Susan Morse
Hampton Union, Tuesday, December 28, 2004
HAMPTON -- Tommy Gone Loco is going more traditional as the downtown sandwich shop closes this week to reopen Monday, Jan. 3, as Just Gen's Sandwich Shop and More.
New owner Kathy Delpero of Fremont is taking over the restaurant opened by former owner Tommy Callan three years ago.
After closing the business Monday, Delpero will shut down the restaurant for a week to give it a new look. She is replacing the surfer, cantina image with a more country flavor, one she hopes will attract workers in Hampton who are looking to get out of the office on their lunch break.
"I want it to be a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere," she said.
She has removed beer and wine from the menu and lowered the price of sandwiches to $5.50, she said.
The menu will include specialty sandwiches, hot panini sandwiches, 10-inch subs, soups and Mexican food, such as a burrito for $7 or add rice and beans for $8.
Despite numerous eateries in downtown Hampton, Delpero said in researching the business, she found there was still room for a luncheon counter where patrons can grab a quick bite or sit and relax in a window seat.
Delpero - who ran Pizza Mia in Lowell, Mass., before she and her family moved to the Seacoast - said she had been looking for a new challenge when she saw an ad for Tommy Gone Loco for sale.
Reached at the restaurant Monday, Callan had no comment on his reason for selling the business or his future plans.
Delpero - who, with three employees, plans to run the business each day - said she wanted another restaurant but didn't want the grind of a 12-to-13-hour day working in a pizzeria.
She'll start by opening the business for lunch only and expects to eventually expand the hours to include either breakfast or dinner, she said.
Everything fit in buying the Lafayette Road eatery, she said. The hard part was naming her new venture.
A family member suggested she name it for her mother, Genevieve, who died last year.
Her mother, said Delpero, hated to tell people her name was Genevieve. People had a hard time both pronouncing the name and spelling it, she said. Her mother told people, said Delpero, to call her, "Just Gen."
Birthday cards arrived signed "Just Gen," said Delpero. Her mother put "Just Gen" on her license plate.
Genevieve - who owned two lunch counters in Ballejo, Calif., where Delpero grew up: the 10:30 Cafe and Squeeze In Cafe - motivated Delpero in her own business pursuits.
"Looking at the place, I said I don't even know what to name it," said Delpero. "My mother was a person who always said, 'Just be a person who makes yourself happy.' It just seemed all to fit."