Charlie and Fred Osso grew up surrounded by the best of southern Italian ingredients – fields of olive trees, red onions, and tomatoes. Little did they know they would one day own one of northern New Jersey’s most popular Italian restaurants.
Charlie and Fred came from Calabria to America with their father, eager to work and help pave the way for the rest of the family to join them. Charlie began working as a baker in New York City, while Fred became a chef in Fort Lee. When Charlie relocated to Rudy’s Pizza in Closter in 1970, he made pizza for original owner Rodolfo “Rudy” Coniglio. When Rudy decided to retire, Charlie and Fred gathered their savings and took over the restaurant.
With Charlie making the pizzas and Fred in the kitchen, they catered to Rudy’s loyal client base and worked hard to deliver an authentic Italian dining experience, always present to run the day-to-day operations and perfect the dishes. With a commitment to quality ingredients and family-friendly prices, they had great success, introducing traditional Italian specialties and seafood to the menu. As the business continued to grow through the years, they expanded the dining room and added a wine list and bar. When Closter Plaza was modernized in 2016, Rudy's was the only store to remain in operation throughout construction.
It's always been a family affair at Rudy’s: Charlie’s wife Nina was a waitress and hostess, and all four of Charlie and Fred’s sons grew up working behind the pizza counter. In 2003, Charlie’s son Rick extended the brand, creating Rudy’s of Garwood. Together with the Garwood team, Rick has been bringing the same great Italian dining experience he grew up with to central New Jersey for twenty years. Charlie's son Tony made the documentary "Pizza Shop: An Italian-American Dream" in 2018 to celebrate his family's immigrant success story. And with Fred's untimely passing in 2022, Charlie and Fred’s sons Anthony and David continue to honor Fred's work ethic and love of good food. 2023 marks fifty years since Rudy Coniglio opened Rudy's in Closter Plaza.