Cibo Restaurant Owner Craig Komatz Dream fulfilled over 30 years in the making
Dream fulfilled over 30 years in the making
Owning and running a successful restaurant is no small feat. Just ask Craig Komatz and he’ll tell you what it was like as he worked his way up from the very bottom to eventually accomplishing his dream over 30 years in the making.
Born and raised in Oakmont Pennsylvania, a suburb outside of Pittsburgh, Craig’s story is one of sheer perseverance, a little luck, and an undeniable desire to succeed in an industry that can literally swallow up the most well intentioned restaurant owner.
“I started washing dishes at the famous Oakmont Country Club back when I was 16 years-old,” Komatz recalls. “I thought to myself, ‘I can do this’ and then maybe one day own my own restaurant.”
He would have to endure at least 30 more years of hard work in order to realize that dream. And that’s exactly what he did.
After graduating high school he attended Michigan State University where he earned a business degree in hotel and restaurant management. He went on to work in the country club industry where he worked his way up to a third-level assistant manager and then eventually becoming a general manager.
As the years went by, the country club industry was beginning to burn him out. But he held on to that dream that would eventually lead him to Fort Myers where a small successful Italian restaurant, tucked away in the Bridge Plaza on McGregor Blvd, was waiting.
“My parents retired in Fort Myers and with every trip I made to visit them we would go to Cibo,” Craig states. “It was one of my favorite places to eat.”
Komatz describes it as part luck, a lot of hard work, and a little divine intervention, as the recipe that went into the opportunity to purchase Cibo. His dream of owning his own restaurant was finally fulfilled on May 25th of 2011, as he made the purchase with his entire life savings from successful Cibo owners Mark and Mary Pat Marotta.
“I will never forget the first meeting I had with our team,” Craig recalls. “We had eleven employees at the time and of course everyone was naturally nervous about the change, but I assured them we would go forward together and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
Today, Cibo consists of 28 employees – with the majority of those in attendance at Craig’s initial ownership meeting still enthusiastically working at the restaurant. He made it a point to keep the most popular entrees on the menu with the quality of food and service that the faithful patrons over the years had come to expect.
Craig describes how purchasing Cibo still could have gone in two different directions. He understood that in order for him to make his mark on the restaurant he would have to be patient and rely heavily on the established Cibo reputation, as well as the team already in place.
“I wanted to get the word out even more about Cibo so I invested heavily in marketing,” Craig explained. “I knew it would be my continued job to keep our faithful patrons happy and to get new customers in the door. Once I did that, I knew our amazing staff would keep them coming back.”
Craig is quick and proud to point out that much of his success over the years is due in no small part to the Cibo team. “We are one big happy family here at Cibo. No one job is more important than another,” Craig proudly states. “Our staff cares just as much about our success as I do and that’s a winning combination that can’t be beat!”
Craig is also proud of his location in the Bridge Plaza and wouldn’t change a thing about all of the restaurant competition located there. “I welcome all the competition, we’re all neighbors,” he said. “Each restaurant in our plaza has its own little nuances but at the end of the day we’re all in the same boat.”
Craig Komatz looks at his past and into the future with a grateful heart.
“When you stop trying to improve you fall behind,” Craig says. “I work each year to make improvements on our current success. My wife and I feel truly blessed that we have such a wonderful life. All my children are grown now but hopefully the success we’ve created here will stay in our family…who knows, we’ll see.”
But for now and into the foreseeable future, Cibo is in great hands – and they’re not going anywhere!
Cibo offers an outstanding selection of appetizers, salads, entrees, wines, and deserts to satisfy every taste. If you’re looking for an elegant Italian dinning experience look no further than Cibo located at the Bridge Plaza at 12901 McGregor Blvd in Fort Myers. They’re open for dinner on Sundays thru Thursday 4-9pm and Friday and Saturday from 4-10pm. For more information please visit their website at www.cibofortmyers.com or call for reservations at 239-454-3700.