Joe Spano Jr. (JS) and Joe Spano Sr. (JS Sr.)
JS Sr.: When we opened the restaurant we really didn’t know what we were doing. We had some pots and pans from the house and I never cooked anything until we opened that restaurant. I said to myself, ”my gosh, I don’t know how to cook do I?”, but I did and never realized I knew. I learned by watching my grandmother and my mother, and now you’re doing it.
JS: Now we’re feeding a thousand people a week.
JS Sr.: It’s a lot of pasta.
JS: I never realized before I started working with you. You sure knew how to draw the line between son and employee. And ah, I can remember when I was the first dishwasher at Spano’s. I was wondering why do I have to be the dishwasher – I’m the son, I’m supposed to be the executive.
JS Sr.: You wanted to be president.
JS: Right, I walked in, I wanted to wear a shirt and tie the first day on the job.
JS Sr.: But you also saw your dad washing dishes too, in that same sink.
JS: I don’t know if you knew that I would want to do this forever and that was part of it, or you were trying to teach me. or you were just doing it because that’s the way it was.
JS Sr.: We were trying to teach you a work ethic, whether you were in the restaurant business or not. I think we did a heck of a job.
JS: But it wasn’t until I started working for myself that I realized, okay this why they did it like they did it.
JS Sr.: Yeah, they say ”the older you get the smarter your parents get.”
JS: I’m realizing. Now I know, just this past Friday night, my dishwasher got sick and the guys in the kitchen where busy and I took my coat off, I took my tie off and I put an apron and started scrubbing dishes, and I mean the guys in the kitchen scrambled. They were amazed. I guess they had never seen the owner scrubbing dishes before.
JS Sr.: What do you like about the restaurant business? It’s not easy, is it?
JS: But if I hit the lotto tomorrow and never had to work another day in my life, I would not close the restaurant down. You can have all the money in the world but if you don’t do anything that doesn’t has any meaning, I mean what’s the point? When somebody’s plate comes back completely empty, that’s instant gratification, or they were starving to death, one of the two. And that makes it all worthwhile. There is no other job like that, at least once every day I can make somebody else happy.