Rudy’s Seafood Rules
Photos by Ramón Hernández
We’ve all heard about the “Seven wonders of the world,” and the seven wonders of the ancient world. And if they were to rate seven seafood restaurants among the eatery wonders of San Antonio, Rudy’s Seafood would be at the top of the list because that’s how good it is.
Even the very reasonably priced appetizing daily specials are a force to be reckoned with. Take the special that includes two choice large fish fillets, three nice sized shrimp, Cole slaw, zesty French fries and a Serrano pepper to make the dish even more enjoyable. Even the presentation looks exquisite.
The Serrano pepper is something the establishment’s founder Yndalecio Rudy Ramírez tried years ago and it became a popular mainstay. And as is evident, his middle name became the eponym for the popular seafood eatery.
Rudy, who loved to fish, got a secret recipe from a fellow fisherman and in 1964 opened his first location as Rudy’s Fried Fish on Nogalitos Street. He later operated seafood branches on Guadalupe Street and Fredericksburg Road in the North side, but found that the demographics that best worked for him were in the Southside.
“The customers are very loyal in the Southside and if you treat the people right, they will keep on coming forever,” said Roland Ramírez, who has been working at Rudy’s since he was eight and took over the restaurant after his father passed on October 16, 2004.
“The fathers you can deal with, but when the mothers go, that’s a totally different thing because they’re the ones that keep the family going,” Roland continued.
Gratifying, titillating, well prepared seafood became the family specialty and Roland’s brother Jerry Antonio followed in their father’s footsteps when he opened Neptune’s followed by J. Anthony’s, which he later sold.
Roland’s mother, Elva Gloria Garza Ramírez, has been keeping the books since day one; and his two sons, Roland Jr. and Johnny are following their grandfather’s example by working along their father and will hopefully continue the family seafood legacy.
Getting back to the star of the restaurant – the food — entire families can enjoy the luscious mouthwatering six and six (6 & 6) special, which consists of six fish fillets and six shrimp. Another popular combo is the flavorful two fish fillets, two piquant shrimp, two savory oysters with French fries and tasty Cole slaw.
Then there’re side dishes such as mouthwatering fried mushrooms, delicious onion rings and fried delectable sweet potatoes.
All dishes are stacked with generous portions that make one wonder how Roland stays in business, but one bite answers that question, taste.
During the time this writer were there, everyone that walked through the door made a beeline for Roland, whose personal touch has endeared him to his thousands of customers, now lifelong friends that keep coming back to eat in a pleasant family oriented atmosphere where everybody knows him.
“A lot of our customers grew up before our eyes as we saw them coming in with their parents; and now that they have grown up, they come in with their children; and in some cases a family may span three generations from grandparents to their children and grandchildren.”
“And it is not strange or out of the ordinary to see a stream of celebrities and VIPs from actors, comedians, Tejano singers and musicians, basketball players plus car dealership owners, prominent attorneys on up to county judges come in for a bite.
During Cuaresma (Lent) lines have been seen to extend through the middle of the parking lot from late morning to 8 p.m. and cars are parked up to two blocks in all four directions.
Asked for the secret of their success besides their top secret recipes, Roland said, we have been at this present location twenty years and everyone raves about the taste, which we attribute to cooking only all-original fresh seafood and giving a pilon (freebie portion) of extra fish or shrimp.
So perhaps the freshest is what makes their seafood tempting, stimulating and succulent, all which a children could summarized with one simple word, yummy.
Rudy’s is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and it is always packed, but do not fear because there’s plenty of booths and tables. Another plus is that men can watch their favorite sport on a big screen television and women can watch their favorite telenovela on a different big screen.