OSWEGO TOWN, NY – Old Man Winter conspired with Mother Nature to thwart the arrival of Spring. The best they could do was delay it 24 hours.
Rudy’s was scheduled to open for the season Wednesday but the massive storm that dropped several feet of snow on some areas of Central New York altered their plans.
Doug Appleman has been a member of the Rudy’s family for more than 21 years.
This was only the second time that he can remember the opening being delayed by heavy snow.
“We were hoping to open as planned. But with the weather the way it was and all the travel advisories, we decide to hold off for a day,” he said.
Local residents know that Spring really returns as soon as the historic little restaurant nestled on the shore of Lake Ontario at The Loop, throws open its doors.
The iconic eatery is celebrating its 71st season. It’s being open by the third generation of the same family.
Marilyn Buske placed the first order of 2017 shortly after the 10 a.m. opening.
“This is my sixth year being one of the first customers,” she said. “You get a tray full of Rudy’s food and it feels like summer.”
Evelyn Davis said it was her first time being first. “The food was awesome,” the youngster told Oswego County Today.
By 11 a.m., close to two dozen patrons had already been served.
Debbie Gilmore, the first patron to place an order in 2016, had a few matters to attend to Thursday morning. She had also been first 3 of 4 years recently.
Arriving around 10:30 a.m., she managed to still be in the first 10 of the new season. She was accompanied by Kayla Kinney who was taking a “Rudy’s Break” from school.
“The food tastes good now; it’ll tastes even better when you can sit outside and enjoy the summer,” Gilmore said.
As they walked past the counter to find their seat, Appleman quipped, “You’re here – we’re officially open!”
Any lines at the counter didn’t last long as patrons, hungry to shake off the winter doldrums with some summer fare, placed their orders of French fries, fish, Texas hots and other items and the counter staff shouted the orders back to the cooks, who unfailingly memorized the orders and cooked each to perfection within minutes.
Usually, patrons enjoy sitting by the water. However, Thursday they opted to eat inside for a change.
“It’s a lot better today than it was yesterday!” said Jason Livesey, general manager. “We wanted to be here yesterday. But, for some reason, Nature just would not cooperate. Doug and I were here – just in case some people showed up.”
However, with Gov. Cuomo declaring a state of emergency for all of New York and travel advisories across the county people opted to stay home and hope Thursday would be a better day.
It’s always fun when the first group comes in; it’s like welcoming your family back home, Jason said.
After the initial rush, there was a brief lull until the lunch crowd braved the cold weather.
Opening day is kind of “a trial run” for the summer when things really get busy, Jason explained.
Rudy’s was opened in 1946 by Marie and Rudy Gadziala. It began as an open-air stand, later expanding and adding indoor seating.
Rudy’s second cousin, Brad Livesey with his wife, Carol (Jason’s parents), bought the restaurant when Gadziala died in 1976.
Brad and Carol began working at Rudy’s in 1960; Brad died in July of 2005.
Jason credits the success of the business to its staff and many loyal customers.