Becoming Purnomo

Circa 1988

When I first moved to Albany in 1988, I got a job working split doubles at PD. Ladd’s, currently Dove and Deer. My apartment was just around the corner on Washington Avenue and, since I was carless, I needed to work within walking distance. The Ladopolous brother were very kind to me and, while I really enjoyed working there, I wanted to work someplace that was more renowned for their food than their proximity to the Capitol for the political types who regularly filled the bar.

At my 50th birthday party.

I read a story about Yono Purnomo, and his recognition as  Chef of the Year, and set my sights on working at Yono’s in Robinson Square never imagining the impact that decision would have on my life. Thirty years later, my relationship with the Purnomo family continues to affect my life frequently. For instance, yesterday I enjoyed lunch with a friend who I originally met at Yono’s where she was a guest and I a server. Today, I will bring my tax documents to a preparer whose office is next door to the original Yono’s location. Back in the day I would deliver happy hour cocktails to his office, cutting across our rear shared parking lot. My dermatologist, veterinarian practice and optician all were selected upon Donna’s recommendation and I’m still loyal to each of them decades later.

Dinner with the ladies!

Because of this family, on some level, I have a family. My boys’ dad and I met working at Yono’s and we held our pre-wedding fete at the restaurant. When my boys were born, there was bakmi delivered to satisfy the intense hunger caused by birthing babies. Through the Purnomos I’ve met countless hospitality professionals and have enjoyed some terrific industry perks and courtesies. I realized recently that the very first time I ever shared a piece of my writing (some thoughts I had when we lost our resident curmudgeon, John Radley) publicly, was at Yono’s. The response and support I received was encouraging and more than likely influenced me to write and share more.

Is there a word for sister-daughter-niece? Maybe in Italian?

My life has been enriched by this hard-working and gracious family, and the experiences we’ve shared, and I am so glad they allowed me to become part of their extended clan 30 years ago. Happy anniversary, Donna, Yono, Nick & Sis.

10 Comments

Filed under aging, Albany, family, Food, friends, Local, love, moms, Observations, relationships, Uncategorized, upstate New York, Wine

10 responses to “Becoming Purnomo

  1. Dora

    What a sweet story…..

  2. Anonymous

    So the day you walked in the door. I knew You were going to be great. I loved working with you. It was so much fun and you could do anything. And you did. All we had to do was ask. Thank you for making our job more enjoyable and the the customers LOVED you!

  3. djpurnomo

    Such a lovely 30 year walk. How fortunate are we all to have such a rich shared history? Here’s to many more adventures. Big and small. 💝💝💝

  4. Ewan

    They’re good people 🙂

  5. Bill N

    A well written (as usual) tribute to Albany restaurant icons.
    With an interesting (as usual) historical perspective.

  6. Erma Orofino

    Purnomo, Orofino. Indonesian, Italian. Potato, Potatoe. As Yono says, “same, same”. We are all family in Smallbany, and it’s just the Best. The pics are great!! ❤

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