MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 26 /PRNewswire/ — Buca, Inc. (Nasdaq: BUCA – news) Chairman, President and CEO Joseph P. Micatrotto announced today the promotion of Steve York, a two and a half year veteran with the immigrant Southern Italian concept and paisano partner for the company’s Sacramento location, to divisional vice president of operations.

“I couldn’t be happier with the promotion of this professional to help us grow the Buca di Beppo brand,” said Micatrotto. “Steve has proven he is ready to step into a leadership role. He clearly embraces the spirit and culture of Buca di Beppo and will spread our values as he takes on this new role.”

A 19-year veteran of the restaurant industry, York joined Buca di Beppo in 1999 as paisano partner at the company’s Sacramento location. Since 2000, York’s restaurant has also served as a training location for famiglia members in the Western portion of the United States. York has been instrumental in training 30 managers and four paisano partners. He has also served on the opening teams for the Greenwood, Ind. and Fort Union, Utah locations.

“Steve is a tremendous addition to our DVP group,” said Joe Kohaut, senior vice president of operations. “The decision to promote a paisano partner takes into account not only the desire and drive of the individual, but also their vision, understanding and execution of the Buca di Beppo concept in the field. Steve has owned his role as paisano partner. From the front of the house to the back of the house to his community, he has been a leader in our famiglia.”

Most recently, York was named “Maestro Paisano” at the annual Buca di Beppo Paisano Partner Conference, held this past September in Hawaii. The award was the top honor given to a paisano partner at the event.

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“Additions to our operational ranks are important to us as we look to the growth we have schedule in 2002 and beyond. Promoting Steve to the DVP team is a classic example of how we’ll meet the need for professional operations personnel as we grow,” said Micatrotto. “By attracting quality, experienced individuals from outside our organization and by promoting from within the famiglia, we ensure the vitality of Buca di Beppo.”

Buca, Inc., a public company headquartered in Minneapolis, owns and operates Buca di Beppo restaurants, a collection of 68 highly acclaimed immigrant Southern Italian restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

SOURCE: Buca, Inc.