Most folks who know Dan Pastorini are familiar with his success on the football field as a professional quarterback. Others may know him by his accomplishments achieved on the pavement behind the wheel of a racecar. What you may not know is that Dan has had a lifelong passion for cooking. His parents, Dante and Dorothy owned and operated Pastorini’s Longhorn for 37 successful years in Sonora California. While growing up with his sisters and brother, Dan was involved in their family’s restaurant. From working in the kitchen to mingling with guests Dan was always lending a helping hand wherever it was needed. He learned the family business including the secrets to their most popular dishes. Dan says, “My parents were the ultimate restaurateurs and took pride in their business. The food was always excellent and they loved the people they served. Always treating customers like family and sending them home happy with full bellies.” Dan’s passion for success started at a young age and continues to this day.
“My parents were the ultimate restaurateurs as they loved people and loved to send them home happy and with full bellies.” Pastorini said. “They took pride in their business and the food was always excellent! As a child, my brother and sisters and I, would pitch in wherever needed as this was a family affair and that’s the way family was in those days.”
In Pomona, California, during his drag racing career, Dan met business partner and life long friend, Lee Donabedian. Dan and Lee hit it off right away sharing the same passion for cooking and hospitality.
Lee’s family owned and operated Rube’s Valley House of Barbeque and Steakhouse in Simi Valley, California. Rube’s was a local hot spot for anyone looking for some great Barbeque, famous for its enjoyable atmosphere and unique BBQ style. Their most popular dishes included ribs, tri-tip and an unbeatable prime rib. You could always find Lee behind the grill cooking up the next great dish or mingling with the crowd as they enjoyed their meals. To this day that’s where you’ll find him, behind the grill using his experience and knowledge to satisfy even the pickiest palate.
“You could always find Lee behind the grill cooking up the next great dish or mingling with the crowd as they enjoyed their meals. To this day that’s where you’ll find him, behind the grill using his experience and knowledge to satisfy even the pickiest palate.”
As their friendships grew, Lee and Dan started a fundraiser to benefit various children charities in the area. They called upon their racing friends to bring their rigs to Rube’s parking lot and participate in the event, Christmas for Children. From local car clubs to Top Fuel dragsters and everything in between participants would display their vehicles and sign autographs for anyone who wanted one. The admission was an unwrapped toy and everyone was welcome to join in the fun. The main attraction for the attendees of this event was not only the race cars and their drivers, but also the excellent food that was served. Their Tri-tip, chicken, and ribs were a hit year after year using the recipes passed down in both the Donabedian and Pastorini families. With Lee and Dan behind the grill you knew you were always in for a treat. The guests anxiously waited for the next tri-tip or rack of ribs to come hot off the grill. They enjoyed the tender full of flavor dishes as they walked around and mingled with the greatest race car drivers of their time.
“With Lee and Dan behind the grill you knew you were always in for a treat. The guests anxiously waited for the next tri-tip or rack of ribs to come hot off the grill.”
Dan and Lee continued to improve the art of seasoning in their own special ways. They each took on different styles and were both known to have a great flavor for the food they prepared. Whenever they got together, whether it was for a public event or friends and family gathering, they would be near the grill doing what they loved. Their passion went beyond just cooking the food; it was also about serving their guests and making it the greatest experience possible. Both Dan and Lee loved to mingle and really get to know the people they were serving. They focused on having a special relationship with their guests and were never afraid to ask what they thought about the food. From time to time they would even have a friendly competition to see who could come up with the better spice and flavor combination. They served their friends and family, only competing for a little bragging rights and gaining some tips from each other. Everyone left with a full stomach and some great memories with the people closest to them.
Their competitive spirit turned into a joint effort to create one great recipe. Dan and Lee began working side by side and brainstorming their best ideas to create something new. With a little of this and a dash of that they were determined to create an incredible flavor second to none. Combining both of their flavoring styles, Lee and Dan were able to acquire that unique taste that they were striving for. All the time spent perfecting recipes behind the grill and their years of experience was about to pay off. They were excited to introduce their new rub mix to family and friends and anxiously anticipated their opinions. Everyone loved it! From the responses, Dan and Lee felt their new found flavor would be a hit for more than just family and friends. Their new creation, Dan Pastorini’s Texas Style Rub, was now a reality and they decided to take it to the next level. The rub was bottled and handed out to small grocery stores, meat markets, delicatessens and others who enjoy spending time at the grill. The feedback started to come in and it was all positive. The local buzz was that their Texas Style Rub can be used on anything and is said to enhance the flavor of everything seasoned by it. Everyone wanted to know where and when they could get their hands on some more. This was great news to the guys and they were eager to take their rub to a larger scale.
“Their new creation, Dan Pastorini’s Texas Style Rub, was now a reality and they decided to take it to the next level. The rub was bottled and handed out to small grocery stores, meat markets, delicatessens and others who enjoy spending time at the grill. The feedback started to come in and it was all positive.”
That next step was Texas for the 2011 Houston Livestock & rodeo Cook-off. They both felt that a successful showing at this event would propel their rub into the marketplace and be available for everyone to enjoy. The event was quite an experience for the guys, it was huge! They were amazed at the competition and the crowd that this event drew from all around. Dan and Lee were excited that they were finally able to share their rub with a larger group of people who were able to taste it on Chicken, Ribs, Brisket, Tri-tip, various salads, Corn on the cob, and even Frog Legs. Sample packets of the rub were given to some 4000 attendees of this multi-day event to take home and try for themselves. Once again the feedback came back with very positive responses. Texas loves it! The showing was a great success and Dan and Lee were confident to put it in the marketplace for all to enjoy.
The rest is history and here we are today, still setting out to have a wonderful relationship with our customers and provide you with the best dining experience possible. We would like to share Dan Pastorini’s Texas Style Rub with you and hope that it will be a welcome guest in your home meal after meal.