If you’re an Italian food lover in the Loma Linda area, chances are pretty good that you’ve eaten at Angelo’s restaurant. You’ve also probably met Jude Venetucci, the restaurant manager, who has been an Omnitrans rider for more than 25 years.
Jude grew up in Claremont. After high school he worked for several years at a little drugstore in Colton at 2nd and Valley where his brother was a manager and his dad a pharmacist. Like many Omnitrans regulars, Jude decided to make the switch to public transit when he began having car problems, and the expense of repair and maintenance became too much. He used to make the commute between Montclair and Loma Linda by bus for 5 years before moving to Colton.
“I didn’t really mind the commute,” says Jude. “It was long, but it gave me time to unwind. Now the bus stop is a just a ten minute walk from my house, and it’s only about a 15-20 minute ride to work. I actually enjoy riding the bus. It’s relaxing, I don’t have to battle traffic; I can read a book or listen to music. My girlfriend has a car, but we work different hours. Omnitrans makes it pretty easy for me, and we’re able to save on the expense of a second car.”
For a brief time, Jude had experimented with biking for his work commute but found it to be stressful and occasionally dangerous. “Sometimes dogs would chase me or people would throw things out the car window. And drivers don’t always pay attention to bikes on the road. The bus was a much safer option.” He laughs, “Besides, this way I can bring home dinner from work on nights we don’t want to cook.”
Jude started working at Angelo’s 20 years ago as a dishwasher. The two brothers who own the family-run restaurant saw something special in the young man, who took advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow in the business and help out where needed. Eventually he was promoted to manager.
“I love this place,” Jude smiles. “I’m treated like part of the family and pretty much have a job for life. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. It’s very low key. The menu is small and easy to work with, the hours are great, and I enjoy the customers. We get a good lunch crowd from Loma Linda University Medical Center, Stater Brothers, Rite Aid and other local businesses because the food is good, and we’re able to get it out pretty quickly. A lot of our customers have been with us forever. In fact some of them first came here as kids. Now they’re adults and they bring in their own children. We don’t have a website and we don’t advertise, but we’re always busy. Our business is all word of mouth. Everyone in the community knows Angelos.”
Community is important to Jude. He and his girlfriend own a home in Colton, and for the past 3 years he has been the Vice President of his HOA. He is also on the Architectural Committee and even started a neighborhood watch group. As a result he’s gotten to know many of the residents and businesses in the area and enjoys the personal connections.
What’s his dream? “I’m living it,” says Jude. “We have our own home, live in a great community and get to do things we enjoy. And I have great job with people I like–I’m pretty happy.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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