Bakn in Carnegie has a simple recipe for success
Randy Tozzie didn’t have to search hard for his passion.
It was instilled in him through the aroma, especially during the holidays, of his parents’ Upper St. Clair home and in the restaurants he worked at throughout his teenage years.
As his mother made homemade bread and sauce in what seemed like an everyday occurrence for him growing up, Tozzie grew up loving friends, family and what would turn out to be his life calling, food.
“Food is awesome,” he said. “I enjoy food. I’ve made cooking my hobby as a teenage by cooking in different restaurants. It just becomes a part of you. It’s a great concept. It’s a great industry. It’s something we surround ourselves with whether we are happy or sad.”
However, food was initially put on the backburner for Tozzie after graduating from California University of Pennsylvania fulfilled expectations to be successful in the sales field.
“Sometimes you have good and bad days on the job,” Tozzie remembers. “You think about what makes you happy and, for me, that’s cooking. It’s a release. It’s an enjoyment. I wanted to turn my hobby into my job and never looked back since.”
Quitting a successful sales job, he turned that passion developed during his youth into exploring where it could take him through culinary arts school.
It took Tozzie, now 52, to the Duquesne Club and to supervising chefs at the Market District before eventually reaching the dream of opening his own restaurant came full circle when the Carnegie-born chef opened Bakn in August 2015.
“It was humbling,” Tozzie explained about opening the restaurant on East Main Street in the town he was born.
“Carnegie was open for business. We met with the borough council and they were really inviting about wanting us, along with other businesses, in there to help the revitalization. You want it to do well. You think it’s going to do well. You put your heart and soul into a menu, the décor and try to pick the right employees to work with. I’m just grateful it’s worked out this way.”
After spending 10 years of refining recipes and creating signature dishes, Tozzie’s taste of his town epitomizes the name with many recipes being incorporated with some fashion of bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The success of Bakn led Tozzie to pursue another venture only 10 minutes away with a second restaurant, Mac & Toz Alehouse in Bridgeville, which is planned to open in early spring.
“It’s really just about putting out great food and pairing it with great beers and drinks,” he said. “Everything I have ever needed has been here (in Southwestern Pennsylvania). I have never had a reason to leave.”