By Ryleigh Freund
KU alumni Thomas Mathias, 27, better known as Tommy Boy, has operated his pizzeria in Kutztown for about a year now.
Mathias was born in Edison, N.J. and then moved to Allentown, Pa. when he was ten years old with his parents, brother and sister. He attended Parkland High school and graduated in in 2006.
Mathias has worked in the restaurant business since he was 14 and has wanted to open and operate his own restaurant since then.
Mathias decided to attend KU because Temple University was too expensive and he wanted to be close to home because his mother was sick at the time.
He studied accounting and he was also part of the accounting club. His favorite professor was David Wagaman. Mathias graduated in 2011.
Throughout his college years, Mathias worked for Main St. Café and Camillos, which are both located in Kutztown. The owners of Main St. Café actually offered Mathias the building when he was 21 but he wasn’t able to afford it.
After he graduated, he began managing Camillos and moved to Bethlehem, Pa. with his girlfriend, Kelsey Speer.
He also continued to work at Main St. Café and Camillos. “I put together a five year plan to stay working, save money, build credit, master my craft, and to put myself into a position to buy a business,” said Mathias.
In April of 2014, he bought the business and from June to August the renovation began so that in August, Tommy Boy’s Pizza and Café opened. It also so happens that Camillo Ciaravino, the owner of Camillos, actually owns the building and Mathias owns the business.
Mathias moved back to Kutztown, where he owns and manages the business.
“He’s young so he can relate to us but is he also professional at the same time,” said Rebecca Lichtenthal, 23, an employee of Mathias.
Jaylah Johnson, 19, another employee, said, “He understands the younger age but is also assertive and he can communicate with college students.”
Junior Brittany Larkin said, “I can only eat gluten free food, and his gluten free pizza is amazing.”
Mathias’ plan for the future is to branch out and franchise. His advice to KU students? “Work hard and do what you love.”