One of the great boosters for the Idaho® baking potato was a Chicago restaurant owner named Dario Toffenetti. Toffenetti stated that he got started buying and serving Idaho® potatoes because of a particular lot that was in storage in Chicago that nobody wanted to buy.
This lot of potatoes proved to be one that had been shipped by Joe Marshall to Chicago, and they were all of exceptionally large size. It was an experimental shipment in which all of the smaller tubers had been removed and probably the lot consisted of potatoes weighing 12 ounces and up.
Toffenetti stated that he went to the warehouse where the potatoes were being stored and they were huge and beautiful.
The idea of serving these large potatoes caught his imagination, and he bought the entire shipment. Toffenetti, at that time, was the owner and operator of several restaurants in Chicago, and he featured these big Idaho bakers in his restaurants. The reaction of his customers was very gratifying to the Italian restaurant operator, and he reported in his charming Italian accent, "And the customers say to me, 'Dario, you serve too much food. I can't eat it all.'" Toffenetti was shrewd enough to realize that a large baked potato on a plate was an inexpensive way to give the customer the impression of extremely generous portions. In the economically depressed days of the '30s, everyone was looking for an exceptional value, and the reputation of Toffenetti's generosity was a great promotional device for him.
Toffenetti displayed large Idaho bakers in the windows of his restaurant and made several trips to Idaho where he became acquainted with leaders in the Idaho industry and formed many warm friendships. Toffenetti and Joe Marshall were fast friends and were known to always get together when Marshall was in Chicago or Toffenetti visited Idaho.
Joe Marshall came as close to becoming a legend in the Idaho potato industry as any man. His concepts of the production and marketing of high quality were undoubtedly responsible for much of the early advantage that Idaho enjoyed and the reputation that the state built up as a supplier of quality potatoes and the improvement of cultural practices among Idaho growers.