NOTE: The following article originally ran in the Monday, April 23, 1984, edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald.
Joe and Matilda Novak Wednesday will open Novak's Hungarian Paprikas, a restaurant featuring the food of Hungary, their native country.
The restaurant, at 2835 Santiam Highway SE, will tie together three important things in their lives: friends, family and good food.
"We just want to work as a team together," Novak said last week while final preparations for the opening were underway. "We love people. We love friends, and we have a lot of friends."
The Novaks came to the United States from Hungary in 1957 and moved to Albany in 1969. Novak was laid off from his job at Teledyne Wah Chang Albany 2½ years ago. While he has worked on and off since then, he has been unable to find a permanent job in the mid-valley.
Last year he had a chance to work in Southern California, but decided he didn't want to move his family there.
Mrs. Novak had worked 10 years at Myrl's Chuckwagon, including time as head chef, so the idea of a restaurant wasn't something completely new.
"This is something we thought about for many, many years," Mrs. Novak said.
"We thought about it, prayed about it," Novak added. "This is the time, and this is the thing for us to do. It's work and pleasure together. In fact, it will be pleasure work."
The 1,500-square-foot restaurant will seat 50 to 55 people. "There's room for more, but we want to keep it at that," Mrs. Novak said. "It'll be a real nice little restaurant."
The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day.
The Novaks are putting themselves into the project. They didn't just plan it and watch. They've been part of all the redesigning, make the table cloths, the window treatments, and the napkins for the bread baskets. A Hungarian meal takes and hour-and-a-half to two hours to prepare, so they'll be spending a lot of time there. They and their daughter Kathy will work there, in the kitchen, out front, wherever needed.
"It will be the nicest little restaurant," Novak said. "It gives me a good feeling to be able to say, 'This is mine.'"
Novak's Hungarian Paprikas is one of nine restaurants that opened or announced plans to open in Albany since mid-December.
"We're ready to go. We're really excited, very excited. The community support we get is very, very encouraging. It's almost overwhelming," he said.