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Rudy’s Lakeside

Quick quiz: Which is better, the food at Rudy’s Lakeside, or the view of Lake Ontario?

Answer: Both!

Well, to be honest, we’re going to have to go with the food, because Rudy’s just is the taste of summer. But it’s also summer on the lake!

I did a quick search on a map, and found Rudy’s Lakeside tucked between Burt’s Point and the City of Oswego, right on the beautiful lakeside of Ontario. And then I found this treasure, written around 1906, specifically about the area:

“Nature with a lavish hand,

Hath laid her bounties at thy feet;

And, searching wide through all the land, 

No spot is found the more replete

With life’s necessities – its treasures –

Spiced with purest pleasures.”

I don’t suppose I could top that if I were to write “An Ode to Rudy’s” for its many summer season fans.

Rudy’s is certainly dedicated to summer, sunsets, stargazing, stone-skipping and just sitting and relaxing. “Nature’s lavish hand.”  But more than that, it’s dedicated to making the very best food – especially fish – you can find to sate your summer hunger. “Life’s necessities, it’s treasures, spiced with purest pleasures!”

Rudy’s goes all the way back to 1946 – and is now in its 77th summer as a family enterprise. The first restaurant was opened by Rudy Gadziala and his wife, Marie, eventually passed to the current owner’s parents, Brad and Carol Livesey, and is now owned and operated by Jason Livesey. What’s also true is that Jason Livesey is every bit as devoted to the business as his grandparents, and his parents before him. 

Livesey stresses that Rudy’s policy has always been, and remains, “close to home” dedicated to obtaining fresh, locally-sourced food, cooked with a determination to please. The emphasis, naturally, is on fish; tender, flaky, cooked-just-right fish. The haddock is never frozen, the beef is locally sourced, the hot dogs are Hoffman hots, and their special Texas Hot Sauce is a recipe perfected by Marie Gadziala, and it’s one of those special items that keeps people coming back.

And the best news, he tells me, is that the business is fully “post-pandemic.” Like many small businesses, especially restaurants and food service, Rudy’s had its challenges with pandemic limitations, demands, and keeping fully staffed. While every business has to have that famous “Plan B” for weather, product sourcing, staffing and business flow, the pandemic was certainly something out of the ordinary. So, like many business owners, Livesey is enthusiastically “back to normal.”

“It’s good to have people back in the restaurant, to get to talk to them, and have them see the full ‘Rudy’s experience’ – watching their food being prepared, greeting their friends, grabbing a chair by the lake or on the grass – and enjoying their meal right there by the water.”

Livesey acknowledges that the pandemic left in its wake some changes. Things like taking credit cards, an even bigger take-out business, a leaner, faster, and very efficient staff, and a little extra time taken to be sure the sourcing of the very best meat, fish, and sides remains the rule.

“But it’s all worth it. We’ve got people who come to town for family reunions, or class reunions. They give us a call and reserve a gazebo, and they get together here for a meal and a relaxed visit by the lake. That’s why we do this. Good food, good times, good memories.”

And there is no way to end a story about Rudy’s without adding Jason’s father’s best bit of advice and insight: “I cook fish. But I’m the best fish cook you know.”

Rudy’s Lakeside

78 County Route 89, Oswego, N.Y. 13126


Open daily 11am-9pm

Opens Wednesday closest to St. Patrick’s Day in March
Closes Columbus Day Monday in October

Summer Season: Memorial Day – Labor Day

Nancy Roberts