OSWEGO TOWN, NY – The return of the robins? Nope.
The daffodils start to bloom? Not really.
Large number of sea gulls starting to congregate at The Loop? You’re getting warmer.
Local residents know that Spring really returns as soon as Rudy’s, the historic little restaurant nestled on the shore of Lake Ontario at The Loop, throws open its doors.
The iconic eatery is celebrating its 70th season.
And, they are already making plans for a bigger celebration to mark its 75th anniversary, because “it will be here before you know it!”
More than a dozen cars lined up in front of the eatery shortly before its scheduled 10 a.m. opening. By 10:30 a.m., close to three dozen patrons had already been served.
The first patron to place an order this season was Debbie Gilmore. In 2013 it was the first time she had been the very first. She was first again in 2014, but arrived a bit later in 2015.
“Everything tastes better on opening day,” she said. “Then it tastes even better during the summer!”
For years, her daughter came to opening day with her around lunchtime. However, now that she’s in school, things have changed.
“She isn’t real happy about missing opening day,” her Gilmore said.
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 as 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, Wednesday, they opted to eat inside for a change.
“I think it’s even too cold for the sea gulls right now,” quipped one of the first patrons of the new season.
Logan and Landen Buske enjoyed their brunch at Rudy’s.
They would be back for more during the summer, they said.
After the initial rush, there was a brief lull until the lunch crowd braved the cool weather.
Urban legend holds that if a “tardy” high school student returns with some Rudy’s fare for their teachers, they won’t be marked absent. However, no high schoolers were observed this year.
Opening day is kind of “a trial run” for the summer when things really get busy, explained Jason Livesey, general manager.
It’s always fun when the first group comes in, he said. “It’s like welcoming your family back home,” he added.
“Welcome to the 70th consecutive season of Rudy’s being open by the third generation of the same family. We’re proud to be serving the greater Oswego community for three generations in a row,” he told Oswego County Today. “We’re looking forward to a great season. We were loving the weather last week. We hope it’s going to come back around – real soon.”
They want to do a few special anniversary things during the summer, he said.
“We didn’t do a whole lot on our 65th anniversary that’s why we want to do a little bit more this year. And, of course really, what we’re going to gear up for is something big for our 75th anniversary,” he added. “We’ve already started talking about things like doing fireworks. It’s going to come faster thing you think it will. It’ll be here before you know it! The 70th came a lot faster than I expected it to.”
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.