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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Thomas Edward Cara

Thomas Edward Cara was born on April, 22nd 1910 in San Francisco.

He ist the son of Humbert and Felicita (born Scaglia) Cara, both of italian descendance (2nd and 4th generation repsectively) both based in North Beach, the italian part of San Francisco.

He diplomed 1933 a bachelor of arts at St-Mary’s College, an institution run by christian brothers (lassalian). During WWII, Thomas Cara was with US army intelligence in Africa and in Northern Italy. In Milan, he met the Pavoni family and bought a 3 foot tall, gas-fired chrome-plated model from them, which he brought back to his home.
On january 3rd, 1942 he married Mary Valvano from who he will get 2 sons, John (1943) and Christopher (1948). Both Mary and Thomas Cara were passionate about food and good coffee, Mr. Cara inventing the first all-male cooking classes in America which will become the only American chapter of the Confrérie de la marmite, a swiss socety in which male gourmets prepare meals for each other.
At the insentive of his wife,  Thomas Cara will start  importing Espresso Coffee machines, becoming the first one to do so on the west Coast.

 He grounded the „Thos Cara Ltd, Culinary Importers“, in 1947, long before San francisco was captivated by Coffee. At that time, there was only one other store in the Usa that imported foreign cookware „le Bazar Francais“ and, at its closure, "Thos Cara ltd." became the oldest cookware store in America, stocking italian polenta pots, ravioli makers, french duck presses and fisch poachers, none of which was locally available when he opened on the grant Avenue in North beach. 

The second store was located on Colombus Avenue in 1952 to be then relocated to 517 pacific Avenue in the 60s. Thomas Edward Cara ran the establishment until 1992, he was 82. Since 1994, Thos Cara Ltd sells exclusively espresso machines. Thomas Cara passed away october 16th 2001 at the aged 91 and was buried in San Francisco’s italian cemetery.

His son Christopher, now 65 years old, is continuing Mr. Cara’s Legacy.

Best greetings if you have the chance to meet him...... and please forward him my next post... i am very curious if he knows about it.


dcampeau said...

I know of these guys and have been in their shop on Pacific St. several times. But it's hard to get their help, they always seem to have something more important to do. Maybe they're just burned out. I always ended up buying elsewhere.

..oh well, sometimes family businesses are like that, no one really wants to be there, but it's better than getting a job.

Mik said...

Taking over a family business is surely a heavy burden... but beeing asked over and over about the Brevetti Robbiati machines when you haven't been involved yourself, is without doubt nerve racking. It is a shame because they surely have interesting documents... but one has to accept it. It is the way it is.