Pizza Cook

I financed my way through college working as a pizza cook at Del Monico’s in San Jose, California. The restaurant was popular with students from San Jose City College, who came for pizza and beer Friday nights. Entertainment extraordinaire was provided.

The restaurant was a long room with an open prep area in front where my friend Ron De George and I spread pizza dough balls to make crusts. Back from there was the cash register where Nick, the owner, stood. Still further was the bar with large handles for pouring beer where Nick’s nephew Michael stood.

The restaurant had a jukebox with Italian songs. Students played those songs and loved hearing us sing along at the tops of our voices, Ron and me at the front, Nick at the register and Michael at the bar. That was stereo at its best.

Popular at the time was Volaré, sung by Dean Martin.

Ron and I would throw up our dough disks to crisscross and fall to the other. Most of the time we caught them. The students loved our show. We also threw our crusts to the ceiling, getting as close as possible without touching. There were grease marks up there.

That’s how I spent my weekends while in college, working hard until 2 AM and partying hard after that.

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