Photo by Steve Roberts

Sam Bomarito: Co-owner and General Manager of Pete & Sam’s

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger

Sam “Sammy” Bomarito, 50, is such a fixture in the Memphis community that it seems like he must have always been here — but, that’s not the case. He grew up on a family farm in Independence, Mississippi (about 30 miles from Memphis) and spent his later childhood years (grades 6 - 12) in Murray, Kentucky. It was not until he enrolled in the University of Memphis and started working full-time at his father’s restaurant, Pete & Sam’s, that Bomarito put down his own Memphis roots. But he said that he always felt he would go into the family business.

“It was pretty much always my plan to become part of our restaurant,” recalled Bomarito. “My father, Sam, started the restaurant with his brother, Pete, and now I’m a co-owner with my brother, Michael. We have a couple of cousins who are working with us, too. And some of our employees have been with us for 25 years, so they are very much like family.”

When asked about his first memories of helping out in a kitchen, Bomarito shared that with his mother, Tru, raising four children, it seemed like there was always someone in the kitchen stirring something, and that’s where he got his start. Without formal culinary training, Bomarito learned classic Italian cuisine from time-honored recipes passed down through generations of his family. One dish that has become his specialty is ravioli.

“I’m in charge of making all of our the ravioli, that includes the meat fillings, as well as the home-made pasta,” said Bomarito. “First, we cook 150 pounds of meat, a mixture of beef and pork. When that cools, we grind it up with a dry mix of seasoning and parmesan cheese. Then we start making the dough, 60 pounds at a time, and run that through our pasta machine. It takes about an hour and a half to prepare 150 pounds of meat and turn it into approximately 10,000 ravioli, and I do that on a weekly basis. Some of the ravioli are served in the restaurant and some of it is frozen and packaged, available for take-out.”

Bomarito said that another family recipe is used to make their meat gravy.

“My dad got the recipe from his parents and we have never changed it,” continued Bomarito. “We use a mixture of beef and pork and really quality Stanislaus brand tomatoes, cooking 30 gallon batches four or five times a week.”

There’s no doubt that Pete & Sam’s has developed a loyal following over the years. Generations of families have followed the Bomaritos from the first location near Airways Boulevard and Alcy Road in 1948, to Airways and Lamar, and ultimately to the current location on Park Avenue, where the restaurant has been since 1960.

When asked what was his favorite thing about Pete & Sams, Bomarito replied, “Most of all, I love the family atmosphere we offer. We know so many of our customers by name, both our regulars and those who celebrate their special occasions with us.”

Indeed, Pete & Sam’s is based on traditions. But recently the Bomaritos have shaken things up a bit. There are no changes to their high-quality Italian dishes, but extensive renovations after a fire in December 2017 showcase renovated interiors and a newly added bar.

“Our customers seem to really like the new bar,” said Bomarito. “We designed it to be cozy and comfortable, with an ‘old school’ feel. We get a lot of comments saying it is like it has always been there.” 

As a dinner-only restaurant, other changes involve expanding their services to onsite catering for special events. To learn more about Pete & Sam’s, check out their website,, or follow along on their Instagram and Facebook pages.


STREETSEEN  |  Matthew Hasty

Photo by Steve Roberts

Matthew Hasty: Broadening his artistic horizons

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger

Born in Memphis, Matthew Hasty’s early childhood took place in the University of Memphis area. His mother worked as a cosmetic buyer for a downtown department store, but was an artist at heart. Matthew remembers her working on paintings, drawings, watercolors and oils in a style he termed “figurative symbolic surrealism.”

“I had access to all of my mother’s artistic tools and art books,” recalled Matthew. “She also made a point of taking me to art museums as often as possible.”

When Matthew was 6 years old, he and mother left Memphis and began an odyssey that took them, first to Ft. Worth then Dallas and later onto New Orleans. Each stop along the way broadened Matthew’s exposure to art. Upon graduating high school, Matthew enrolled in the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. After he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he set his sights on living in New York City.

“I went to New York thinking that I was going to get into the art scene up there — but after living there for three  years, I conceded that I wasn’t fully prepared for that after all,” said Matthew. “I moved back to Memphis and was still trying to find my voice through art. At the time I was painting all kinds things that were symbolic to me. I hadn’t tried landscapes yet. However, a friend showed me a picture “Moonlit Night on the Dnieper” by Russian artist Arkhip Kuindzhi. It was just captivating — and it changed everything for me.”

Soon after, Matthew said that landscapes became a large part of his work.

“Not a lot of artists were doing landscapes at that time, but I saw the beauty in Memphis,” recalled Matthew. “I came to realize that I’m mostly interested in the sky in these scenes. That’s what I get the most charged up about, working on atmospheric light.”

For that reason, most of Matthew’s paintings capture early morning light or sunsets. He also loves the way landscapes look by the light of the moon. When asked what he likes most about being an artist, his response was simply, “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I have a creative side that needs a voice. I try to appeal to people’s emotions, but not through some sort of hidden messages, rather through the sheer beauty of my scenes.”

Matthew continued, “My inspiration is drawn from the luminous colors of nature, as well as the works of landscape painters of the nineteenth century. Prominent landscape and marine painters of the Hudson River School, the Luminists, the Barbizon School, the Dusseldorf School and innumerable painters from Russia, such as Arkhip Kuindji, Isaac Levitan, and Ivan Aivazovsky, are some of my strongest influences.”

In the last year, Matthew has expanded his art in another way. He has moved from his home studio to a space at Marshall Arts.

“The interaction with other artists is enjoyable and inspiring, too,” said Matthew. “I like the feeling of being a part of a community of artists.” 

Additionally, being at Marshall Arts has afforded Matthew the space to work on larger projects, like the pair of paintings, each measuring 6.5 feet by 18 feet, that will soon be placed in the new Shorb Tower at Methodist University Hospital. Other works by Matthew are in homes of local individual collectors, as well as the corporate headquarters of Regions Bank, International Paper and at Interim Restaurant.

As for his plans for the future, Matthew said he has a show planned for October in Hot Springs.“Also, I’d like to travel and paint scenes from Italy, France and Spain,” said Matthew. “I may be trading cotton fields for vineyards — but the skies are gorgeous wherever you go.”  

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