The O-town Scene

October 14, 2010

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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Casual Chit Chat Each week, we have a casual conversation with a member of the community. This week, Pizzaman Joe Ruffino of Oneonta and Cassandra Miller chit chat, casually. 1. What do you think of the stereotype that people who own Ital- ian restaurants and piz- zerias area all involved in the Mob? Well, you know, you’re always going to have stereo- types. And sometimes you can use them to your advan- tage. My dad has a heavy Italian ac- I don’t have one. Every time I get an iPod, my daughter takes it from me. Three of my favorite songs are: Frank Sinatra’s “Just the Way You Are” “Low Rider” – I play it almost all the time when I’m driving in my Pontiac “Stereo Love” – This techno song my son got me hooked on. It’s got an accordion in it. 4. What’s your favorite type of pizza? cent and most people can’t understand what’s he’s saying, so they assume it’s something scary. Really, if you’re a good Mafia guy, you’re not going to be making pizza. ter 2. If you could spend a day with a celeb- rity, who would it be and why? Not to sound stereotypical, but I love the standards. If I could hang out with a group of people, it would be the Rat Pack. I’d even love to sing with them, even though I suck at singing. I usually have Sinatra playing on XM radio in the morning. 3. Name three of the most-played songs on your iPod: what you put on it. 5. What’s your philosophy on making pizza? I’ve never messed with the recipe. We’ve stayed with the same quality of ingredients for all the years – Over 35 years we’ve 6. Why not stay open late for the after-hours crowd? The 4 a.m. days are gone. I miss that. That was a lot of fun, and I have a lot of good memories. You know, those people, they’re all happy people. But it’s a long day, even ending at 10 p.m. Now we close on Sundays. We observe holidays. My dad worked long days every day. But, I thought “I don’t want to do that.” I think every generation loses some passion. My parents’ goal was to build that American dream. But my goals are different. I think if one of my kids took over, hours would be even shorter. I have less of a passion than my dad – he came in Plain cheese. I’m a strong be- liever that if it doesn’t taste good plain, it doesn’t mat- this morning and wanted to make a batch of dough. I told him, “I’ve got it.” It was simpler in his day. Everything they rounded up. They didn’t have the va- riety of pizza or drinks. They didn’t have different flavored iced teas. You didn’t like Coke, Diet Coke or Sprite, you’re out of luck. 7. If you weren’t a pizzaman, what would you be? I wanted to be a CPA. I went to college for it, but I think I have too much per- sonality for it. That’s a joke. Maybe I’d be in sales. I love the interaction with differ- ent people – especially kids. They’re the coolest. 8. Where’s your family from, and what do you wish Oneonta had that Italy has? Both my mom and dad were born in Carini, Sicily – the part that’s getting kicked by the boot of Italy. It’s near Palermo. The break dur- ing the day in Italy is great. They’ll eat a small breakfast, and have a break in the middle of the day to have a big family meal. 9. What are family meals like at the Ruffino house? When we get together for family meals, my mom cooks enough for a small army. We have to tell her to sit down with us, but she’s always preparing something. The aromas are intoxicating. Sometimes I take a taste. She smacks my hands and says “You wait ‘til everyone sits down.” But, I eat most of my meals here (at Ruffino’s Piz- zeria on Main Street). 10. What’s the best part about living in One- onta? The people. Overall friend- ships and the people here make this city. Oct. 14, 2010 O-Town Scene 7 been with Casa Imports. Don’t mess with what’s not broken. Also, you’ve got to be able to showboat it. I’m in the window, not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty good pizza tosser.

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