Our next Nashville Rockstar has one heck of a story. This Music City native took an opportunity as an on-set caterer and grew it to a multi-million dollar business. He has created companies to help others, started restaurants, and done many things to improve Music City. It didn’t happen over night. Just read below to discover the fascinating journey of our next Nashville Rockstar, Tom Morales.
Early in life, Tom Morales interviewed for an on-set catering position on a movie to be filmed in Tennessee. One of the many questions asked by the production company was whether he had a mobile kitchen. Eager for the job, Tom Morales said yes without actually having the vehicle. You can rest assured the first thing he did after the interview was to find one as quickly as possible. With a little help from some family friends he was able to find his very own mobile kitchen and so began his company TomKats Incorporated.
The first movie he ever catered put him on the path to success. He and his TomKats team set up a two sided buffet line and stocked it with food. While this seems normal on a movie set today, at the time, people typically ordered from a window and then moved to the next window to pick up the food. The cast and crew were being fed in about half the time and the producers quickly found they could save close to $5,000 a day in production costs with Tom Morales. And just like that, he revolutionized the on-set catering industry. From there, Mr. Morales and his TomKats team brought southern hospitality to each set. They found what people liked, what they didn’t, and catered to their needs. Just to name a few, TomKats catering has worked on A League of their Own, City Slickers, What About Bob, Groundhog Day, The Lord of the Rings, and other popular movies throughout their many years. With hard work, friendly style, and determination Mr. Morales with his TomKats team became successful. The success allowed him the ability to explore other opportunities which includes helping those in need.
Over the years, Tom Morales has seen a series of tragic events including 9/11 when his team was working on the set of Sex in the City. Unfortunately, due to certain regulations by the federal government the TomKats team was not allowed into the area to help. This inspired Mr. Morales to create the Home on the Range Emergency Relief Catering company. Since the creation, the team has been on site for forest fires, natural disasters including the Katrina aftermath where they helped feed close to 1,000 people a day, and so much more.
His story continues today in Nashville. Tom Morales is the proud owner of multiple restaurants in the Nashville area and you’ve probable been inside many of them. For instance, he owns Saffire Restaurant (in Franklin), The Southern Steak and Oyster, Loveless Cafe, and Southernaire Market. Most of which have won the hearts of both visitors and locals alike. Not only are these restaurants improving the food scene in Nashville, but his work is being recognized by preservationist as well. Just pick up the fall issue of “Preservation,” published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and you will see Mr. Morales being honored for his work on preserving the historic Acme Feed & Seed building.
Tom Morales seized an opportunity and never looked back. His success has allowed him to help others and do great things for the city of Nashville. To be honest, we have barely skimmed the surface on what this Nashville Rockstar has accomplished over the years. But we know one fact is true: he’s not done. Keep rockin’ Tom Morales.