OSWEGO TOWN, NY – “It’s a beautiful sunny day! Just right to kick off another family reunion season,” exclaimed owner Jason Livesey on Wednesday morning.
Old Man Winter conspired to delay opening day. Huge mountains of snow-covered ice bobbed along the Lake Ontario Shoreline – their demise imminent as temperatures will climb into the 50s and perhaps even touch 60 in the coming days.
In 2017, a winter state of emergency delayed the opening of Rudy’s by one day.
Last year, dozens of hungry patrons shrugged off the snow, ice and wind to welcome the iconic restaurant back for another season.
This year, the opening was about a week later than usual to ensure all weather conditions were satisfactory.
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 73rd season. It’s being run by the third generation of the same family.
Shortly after 10 a.m., a few orders had been placed. By 11 a.m., close to two dozen patrons had already been served.
Jack Beshures was the first to place an order this year.
“I hadn’t planned on being first,” he said. “It’s a nice day, so I got an early start. Maybe I’ll make this a tradition.”
Floor manager Doug Appleman, a member of the Rudy’s family for more than 23 years, said, “We’re looking forward to another great year.”
“We’re always excited for opening day, to welcome back people we haven’t seen all winter,” added Livesey.
In an attempt to get customers in and out more quickly and efficiently this year, Rudy’s has introduced ordering stations at the east and west ends. Customers will then move to the center of the diner, receive their orders and exit through the front doors.
“Yeah we’re trying something new this year,” Lversey told Oswego County Today. “This place can only hold a certain amount of people. We’re trying to fill their orders as efficiently as possible.”
Kaitlyn Wright and her son, Alexander, made the opening day trip from Liverpool.
“I’m from here, but I live in Liverpool now. But I had the day off from work, so I decided to come up for opening day,” she said. “I never miss an opening day!”
Debbie Gilmore, usually among the very first customers, was a bit later this year.
“My daughter had a doctor’s appointment,” she explained. “She had asked me if she could skip school for Rudy’s opening day. I said, ‘No!’ And then the doctor goes and schedules her appointment for today.”
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.
The counter staff shouted the orders back to the cooks, who unfailingly memorized the orders and cooked each to perfection within minutes.
After the initial rush, there was a brief lull until the lunch crowd.
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.
For more information, visit http://rudyshot.com/ or visit them on Facebook.