By ALEX GREEN
A tad more than 15 years ago, Kay Pudelski got the idea for Rudder’s Cafe by going on vacations with her family.
Fifteen years after the diverse store’s opening, the popular Catawba dining and shopping spot is operating as strongly as it ever
“What we try to do is offer a great place for homemade food in a relaxing atmosphere,” Pudelski said.
From South Carolina, to Maine, to Nappa Valley California, the Pudelski family took notes on what worked for certain restaurants, and what did not.
“We tried to look for niche places,” she said.
Of course, the places with the best food received the best reviews from the family. But they say there are several components unrelated to food that make a great restaurant or cafe.
And Rudder’s Cafe tries to do it all: food, service and ambiance.
The recipe has kept certain customers coming back for years, one being Danville native, but summertime Catawba resident Sue
“This is (Pudelski’s) kitchen,” she said. “The food is excellent. There is always something new and different.”
The oversized chalkboard hanging in the store’s kitchen area would support Ray’s comments.
Countless sandwiches, soups and wraps are listed on the board.
Rudder’s also serves breakfast food and specialty coffee drinks.
Pudelski’s baked goods are a crowd favorite too.
Her cinnamon buns are so widely talked about throughout town, they are often sold out by the end of the day.
Still, these food groups do not even scratch the surface of how vast Rudder’s is.
It has a gift shop that sells a multitude of nautical gifts, furniture, soaps, candles, kids toys and more.
In addition, the cafe has a small grocery area.
All of it is plenty to juggle for Pudelski and her staff, but it is no wonder why Rudder’s has lasted for 15 years, and intends to last much longer.
“We work really hard at high quality food that is served up in quick fashion but is also served with a smile,” she said. “We know everybody, it’s like our home and our extended family.”
It is open six months, from mid-April to mid-October.
CORRECTION: Rudder's is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The story had listed the store's winter hours, but the hours have recently increased.