When Tony Caputo opened his market and deli in 1997, it changed everything. Tony passed away on March 10, 2021. Tony’s efforts helped all boats rise. He educated Utah palate, primed tastebuds beyond the “ethnic” aisle at Smith’s and filled our city with fine artisan pastas, San Marzano tomatoes and gigantic wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The man behind the “wheels” has left our collective plates better, richer and more robust for his efforts. Ciao, you old coot.
A friend of mine is a long-time employee at Caputo’s Market. We were talking fondly about Tony and she told me something about him that surprised me, although, knowing Tony, it shouldn’t have. Seems that Tony, despite rumors of retiring, never stopped coming to the store. Tony was often at the shop before its earliest morning crews, tending to the flowers and sweeping the parking lot. Shortly after Tony passed away in March, she told me that the neon apostrophe in the Caputo’s Market sign had gone on the fritz. “Nobody even knew where the switch was to turn it off,” she says. “Much less who to call to get it fixed. Tony knew all that.” For me, it was a reminder of how a person like Tony’s absence reveals the depth of their presence in our lives.
So too goes the life of a city. Last summer, the staples of summer life were suddenly gone and the cadence of the season was thrown off. It may sound frivolous, but the things that were to be counted upon—the mad rush to make it to a Red Butte show, the triumphant cacophony of The Utah Pride parade and festival, Sunday afternoons in the ballpark—revealed the depth of their presence in our lives. So for this issue, we wanted to remind ourselves of the importance of appreciating the people and events that give definition and shape to our world. We talked to folks who were in the thick of Utah’s Covid response in many ways, some big and some small. And, we offer you a shot in the arm—a snap-out-of-it list of ways to reclaim summer. Yep. We want a do-over. Let’s make this one count.