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Let's Go!

Ramon Ruiz discusses his journey to opening Andiamo Italian Ristorante.

Ramon Ruiz, chef and owner of Andiamo Italian Ristorante, got his start working over 30 years at Italian restaurants before opening a restaurant of his own.

"When I got to this country from Mexico, I knew no English," says Ramon. He found a job at an Italian restaurant and began to work. "My bosses threw me in the kitchen and said, 'If you're not making 100 pizzas a day, I'm going to send you back to L.A.' I worked a week and they said, 'You're doing good. I'll move you to prep—prepping sauce, prepping pasta, prepping all kinds of things.'"

After another week, Ramon had been moved to the pasta line; within a month, he had learned all the stations in the kitchen. A few months later, he was moved to wait assistance, where he remained for 2 months until he met the owner of Two Guys from Italy, an Italian franchise with a branch in White Bear, MN.

"The owner called me the first night they opened and said, "Can you come help and get somebody out here? I need two people.' I said, 'Okay.' So my brother and I worked at the other restaurant until 11 o'clock, hopped on the plane at 1am, got here at 5 o'clock in the morning, and started working that day at 2 o'clock. We worked for three or four months with no days off because the place was very busy."

Ramon remained at Two Guys from Italy for 14 years before moving to Buca di Beppo, where he worked for the next 16.5 years. In 2010, he opened Andiamo.

"I worked with a lot of Italian folks. And they always said, 'andiamo, andiamo, andiamo.' It means let's go. It's an energizing word."

In 2013, Ramon opened another branch of Andiamo. However, the location was too far away from the original for Ramon to easily travel back and forth, and the business suffered. "When you have a business, especially this kind of business, it is hard if the owners are not around," he says. Ramon made the decision to close that location and put his time and energy into the original branch, which has been a success.

"I have been really involved with the customers," says Ramon. "I ask them, 'What can we do better?'" In 2020, Ramon opened another location in Woodbury, and although things were complicated during the COVID-19 pandemic, both restaurants are now thriving.

Ramon also credits the staff for some of that success. "I've got great people working for me. Makes it a lot easier."

Ramon's favorite dish at Andiamo is the Linguini Frutti Di Mare, a pasta dish with shrimp, mussels, calamari, clam sauce, garlic, marinara, and crushed red pepper.

Today, Ramon gives back to the community via donations to local schools, churches, and other establishments. "We've been doing very well here," says Ramon. "You've got to be involved with the community because they support you."

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