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Love on the menu

After eating there for years, a Great Kills couple tie the knot at the Victory Diner

November 3, 1999


Something old, something new, something
borrowed -- hold the mayo and get an order of fries,

Friends and family of Susan Rapacciuolo and Al
Pugliese put on evening dresses and their best
suits last night, because they were going to the diner.

The 40 guests were crowded in -- invitations in hand -- to attend the future Mr.
and Mrs. Pugliese's wedding ceremony in the nostalgically narrow and chrome
Victory Diner in Dongan Hills.

"I figured that this would be very unique," said the
groom -- decked out in his tuxedo -- right before
the ceremony. "Susan and I have been regular
customers here for at least 10 years. I hesitated to
bring this idea up to her, but she loved it right off
the bat."

While the party waited for the bride to arrive,
Pugliese noted that he wasn't feeling any wedding
night jitters.
"I feel good. We've been waiting for this for 16
years -- that's a long engagement," said the Great
Kills resident.

The bride, also a resident of Great Kills, and the groom met as coworkers at the
Bank of New Zealand in Manhattan.

We always called them the 'Parm People,' because they always ordered
chicken parmigiana," said Cathy Brooks, a waitress at the diner.

Steve Pappas, owner of the Victory Diner, said it was a special day because it
was the first time anybody had held a wedding there.

"I was shocked when they told me that they wanted to have it here. And we've
done everything -- even a few movies were filmed here -- but never a wedding,"
said Pappas.

Built in 1932, the Victory Diner is the classic streamlined, railroad-car,
prefabricated edifice that has become part of American diner legend. Originally
located on Victory Boulevard in Castleton Corners, the entire structure was
uprooted and moved to its present location on Richmond Road in 1964.

Because of its decor, the diner has often been used as a location for films, most
famously in Rodney Dangerfield's 1986 comedy "Easy Money."

When the bride arrived, fashionably late, money was put into the jukebox to play
selection 99-01 -- the "Wedding March."

The soon-to-be Mrs. Pugliese walked down the "aisle" between the booths and
countertop, escorted by her uncle, Frank Rapacciuolo of Great Kills, and
accompanied by Jessica Schille, her matron of honor, also from Great Kills.

Daniel Quinn of Bay Terrace, the best man, stood by the groom as the Rev.
Samuel Stern of Great Kills performed the ceremony.

The wedding feast was prepared by the master chefs of the Island's famous diner
and included, yes, chicken parmigiana, veal marsala, penne pasta, salad, a fruit
cup -- and, of course, a cake.

"I think this was a great idea. It's crazy, but why not -- we're here all the time
anyway," said Mrs. Pugliese, during the reception party.

When asked about honeymoon plans, the newlywed bride explained why they
had to "86" a vacation.

"Unfortunately, Al has to go to work tomorrow," said Mrs. Pugliese.

Best man Daniel Quinn claps as
the newly weds Al Pugliese and
Susan Rapacciuolo kiss.

The NEW Mr. and Mrs Pugliese

Best Man Danny Quinn and Maid of Honor Jessica Schille

The classic and historic Victory Diner - Staten Island NY