Remembering a NEPA Pizza Legend - John Rusak

Remembering a NEPA Pizza Legend - John "Roos" Rusak John "Roos" Rusak will always be remembered for his soft-spoken appr...

Remembering a NEPA Pizza Legend - John "Roos" Rusak

John "Roos" Rusak will always be remembered for his soft-spoken approach, kind heart, and his legendary #pizzafriday streak.

Today I want to celebrate the life of a man whom you may or may not be aware of.  John "Roos" Rusak was a man that I never met in person, but I spoke with regularly.  John is a Pizza Folk hero, a legend of sorts, who never sought the spotlight and quietly created the greatest Pizza Friday Streak of all time.  He's the Cal Ripken and Iron Man of NEPA Pizza and a friend of mine.

He was a true friend of NEPA Pizza Review, one of my earliest readers, and has contributed so much in terms of ideas, suggestions, content, and more over the years than I can even summarize here.  Many of the places NEPA Pizza Review has visited, the features added to the website, content in articles, lists, and social content, how the NEPA Pizza Madness tournament is run and more were shaped by John Rusak. 

Roos sporting his Halloween Pizza t-shirt, presumably ready to keep the pizza streak alive!

One of my favorite conversations with Roos was over the phone when I was interviewing him for an article I was writing for Discover NEPA back in 2019.  He was telling me about his love for pizza and how he and his wife would go on road trips and vacations.  The joy and pride in his voice when he described how his wife would select the destinations, usually involving some historic landmarks and sightseeing while John would research the pizzerias in the surrounding areas.  It was a dream team of pizza and history adventure!

We spoke about some of his more noteworthy spots, but I couldn't help but ask what his favorite pizzeria of all time was.  He decisively said that Angelo's Pizza - The One and Only in Wilkes-Barre was his #1 choice and always enjoyed when his kids would come home and request a sauce-swirled Angelo's tray.

I asked John several times over the years if he would consider doing an interview or pizza review on camera with me because I really loved what he was doing and was just generally an all around good guy with an contagiously positive personality that I knew my audience would connect with.  Seemingly never one for the spotlight, he always politely declined but always offered his wisdom and perspective on local pizza which was so deep and vast.

John was gracious to share his thoughts on pizza, but the most impressive thing I've seen with regard to pizza dedication was is meticulous recordkeeping of every pizza he's tried in the past 7 years.  Check out the extensive list of nearly 350 pizzerias that he personally traveled to, tried, and reviewed below.  It's an epic and unrivaled pizza streak that even the most seasoned pizza bloggers can't compare to!

John Rusak's instagram account @jroos51 features a treasure trove of local pizza pics and reviews!

John never bashed a pizza, nor was he overly opinionated toward a particular pizza.  He'd use a simple ๐Ÿ‘ or an ๐Ÿ‘Œ (or no emoji at all) to deliver his ratings.  A "thumbs up" meant John really liked or loved it.  An "OK" meant just that it was ok, pretty good.  And if John didn't use an emoji, he probably was referencing the old adage "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."  You can see his pizza pics and reviews on instagram here.  It's a great resource and he covers even the most obscure of pizzerias.  I encourage everyone to check it out!

I want personally thank John for his kindness, friendship, generosity, and support over the years.  I'd also like to extend my heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Rusak family who were kind enough to reach out and alert me of John's passing.  He was a great man and I know he's probably watching over all of us enjoying a cut of pizza continuing his pizza streak for eternity.  Rest in peace Roos, I'll think of you every #pizzafriday and raise a slice of pizza to you my friend.

You can find John's obituary here and if you would like to send condolence messages, memories, stories, and photos to the family, please email rememberingroos@gmail.com.  

And now for the most impressive pizzastreak documentation I've ever seen.  Take your time and scroll through to read all of the pizzerias listed.  If you are a pizzeria and Roos visited you, please share this post in his memory.

















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