Rudy on College
Rudy is a simplistic burger place in Little Italy, great for a stop on a stroll, work day lunch, or bite before or after taking in a flick at the Royal Cinema across the street. They cater to industry types who long for a well-cooked meal with no pretension, and neighbourhood folks who just want a good burger fast.
The name "Rudy" is an inside joke the two owners, Luke McCann and Chris Simpson, made up in college, referring to anyone they would see out at a restaurant or bar who seemed a little too happy with himself.
The interior is relatively small but very welcoming, with tables lining either side of the airy restaurant, which has a diner feel with its checkerboard floors and open air kitchen. Rudy is easy to find not just because it's in a popular restaurant district, but because of the giant hot pink sign spelling out "Rudy" in capitalized bubble letters.
Like the restaurant itself, Rudy's menu is simple and not too extensive, and the dishes themselves are actually relatively small, but they're filling. Of course there's the classic cheeseburger, also known as "The Rudy" ($6.50). What stands out about Rudy's burgers is that they're dressed with nothing more than lettuce and tomato, along with their secret Rudy sauce.
Their burgers are all beef, and the only other thing added to them once they're smashed into patties on the grill is a little dash of salt and pepper.
Then there's the chicken sandwich, "The Valentino" ($7.50), named for Rudy Valentino, Italian-American silent film actor. This may be a nod to their community of Little Italy, but they don't need to fit in with this standout sammy. The chicken goes through a lengthy in-house brining process before it's floured, then deep-fried for four minutes.
It's then drizzled with hot sauce and a sauce that's a mixture of buttermilk, creme fraiche, and chives, then topped with lettuce and pickle instead of lettuce and tomato.
They also serve poutine ($7.50) here, wanted to keep with the rowdy school days theme and serve something they ate all the time in college in Montreal. Luke says he's never had a good poutine made with thin fries, so these fries are a chunky vehicle for squeaky curds that come from Ontario.
If you're feeling hungry, try the "Rude Dude," their double cheeseburger, which at $9 is their most expensive item and still comes in under a $10 price point. You can also get your order "Tattooed," adding bacon for $1.50. They only have soda pop, but these guys know beer and wine go great with burgers and Little Italy, so look for those options.
Photos by Hector Vasquez