Angel investors come in every shape and size but rarely do they come in the form of Tom Mitchell and Trappe, Maryland.
This small rural community some ten miles south of Easton off of Route 50 has a current population of 1,000 people, give or take. While it has had moments of prosperity, including the introduction of Mitchum’s fine dining restaurant (now closed) a few years ago, it finds itself most of the time getting lost as beachgoers drive by heading for Cambridge and Salisbury.
But for Tom Mitchell, Trappe has never been about the best possible return on investment. For him, it comes from a particular love of the community but also a unique devotion to his wife, Maria.
For the last ten years, Maria has battled Alzheimer’s Disease while Tom continued his successful career as an entrepreneur in several industries. Maria, who is 100% Greek, was always counted on to be the heart and soul of the Mitchell home, and Tom was eager to find a way to keep his wife’s passion for great food and natural warmth alive as she battles this cruel illness.
And so, without any experience in the restaurant business, other than his natural appetite and fondness for tasty libations, Tom embarked on a simple plan to turn the abandoned Mitchum’s back into a major center for fine dining. Using Maria’s favorite recipes, and his skill of making sound real estate deals, Mitchell found himself the owner of Momma Maria’s Bistro last April.
But, like all good stories, it didn’t just end with a tremendous new restaurant. As Tom started to invest in downtown Trappe, he saw an exceptional opportunity for even more investment. Quickly he took over the former bank building across the street to start Coffee Trappe, and has since purchased with at least five other commercial properties all within a stone’s throw away from Mamma Maria’s front door.
In short order, a restaurant project has now grown into a town project. Tom saw this as a way to keep Trappe’s small-town feel at a time when the population should grow significantly with the addition of the Lakeside community (which will eventually have five unique neighborhoods ) on the other side of Route 50.
The Spy has plans to cover the unique success story of Momma Maria’s as a new and hugely popular fine dining establishment under the management of chef Michael Quattrucci early next year but took our opportunity to talk to Tom about how one person, with passion and emotional investment, can truly save a little town.
This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Momma Maria’s please go here.
Don’t miss the latest! You can subscribe to The Talbot Spy‘s free Daily Intelligence Report here.