Thirty-four years is a long time to spend slinging pizzas. "It's a lifetime," Matt Jamieson says. But he doesn't mind, considering that's how long he has worked at Rudy's Spaghetti House & Pizza in Closter.
"I started there in 1978," Jamieson says. "I can't believe it."
Three decades ago, when Jamieson was 22 and worked at a pizza place in New York, he visited what is now Closter Plaza. Back then, the K-Mart wasn't even a K-Mart yet. A restaurant called Rudy's caught his eye, and when he walked in, he found a big, modern, well-run pizzeria with a nice dining room. Rudy's was unlike any other pizza joint Jamieson had seen.
So he asked the guy behind the counter if the restaurant needed any help and left his phone number. A few days later, Rudy's called him in.
"The job interview was, 'OK, go make some pizzas,'" Jamieson says. "That's basically how it went back then."
He got the job, obviously. At first he prepared the pizzas, but he worked his way up over time – especially as others left and he came to know the shop's menu and customers better than almost anybody else.
Now 56 and living in Blauvelt, in Rockland County, Jamieson – who loves to water ski, bike and work on his house in his downtime – manages Rudy's. And he kind of loves it.
"I work for two guys, Charlie and Fred [Osso], and they're really wonderful guys," Jamieson says. For example, they donated 15 percent of sales recently to an area resident who had been injured in an accident. "It starts at the top, where people care about what they do."
The brothers Osso bought Rudy's in 1977 from Rudy Coniglio, who had opened the place in 1963. And Jamieson joined the team in '78, so he's been there about as long as anyone.
"I like dealing with people," he says. "In Closter, the people in that area, there's a lot of nice people. It's a pleasure a lot of the time."
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