A Family Affair
Friday, February 12, 2021
Although Ramon Ruiz emigrated from the warmth of Mexico to San Francisco, Calif., he’s planted his roots in the Minnesota cold; and after years of dreaming about owning an Italian eatery, those dreams are coming to life in our local suburbs.
“I started [cooking] in California, outside of San Francisco, making pizzas … At the time I was so young, and I had no experience in Italian food,” Ruiz says. After a 10-month stint spinning pizzas, Ruiz was sent to White Bear Lake, Minn., for two weeks to train for a Two Guys From Italy franchise.
“My boss had asked if I was ready to go back to California, and I decided to stay [in Minnesota] because I had never seen snow in my life,” Ruiz says, laughing. “I told him, ‘If I don’t make it here, I’ll go back to California.’” That was in 1981; 40 years later, Ruiz and his family of six are still in Minnesota.
At the time, Ruiz wasn’t fluent in English, since the Spanish language was so prevalent in California. With little English language skills, he worked as a server and busser for over four years, and says he became proficient in English by serving. He worked with Two Guys From Italy until 1993, when he was hired on as a chef at St. Paul’s Bucca di Beppo; he was promoted to head chef four years later.