Rudi’s Bar & Grill has been quietly building an unofficial Hall of Fame for Patchogue-Medford graduates at its Route 112 location.
The short list of honored names ranges from fallen military heroes to high school and MLB stars. The entries come in the form of special namesake burgers and jerseys that hang from the bar’s rafters.
“We take a lot of pride in hometown,” said Mike Lauria, a 1997 Pat-Med graduate who opened Rudi’s with a softball buddy from Centereach, Jason Rudilosso, in 2012. “We wanted to have sports bar where everybody can hang out and have a good time and feel comfortable and feel like a family. And, we wanted to honor our hometown heroes.”
Even the honorees and their families are known to frequent Rudi’s.
That includes the parents of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman.
Marcus Stroman — a 2009 Patchogue-Medford graduate and recent standout in the 2015 American League pennant race — actually helped build his own Marcus Stroman burger. He gave Rudi’s the ingredients over the phone: avocado, honey mustard, ketchup, fried egg, onion straws.
“His father, Earl, eats here twice a week for lunch,” Lauria said. “Marcus and his aunt and I went to school together. I had an eye on him growing up; I saw how talented was. The kid has heart. The kid’s a stud. He lives by the motto height doesn’t measure heart.
“He was told he couldn’t make it, that he was too small. But he has a very bright future.”
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The Rudi’s burger menu also includes The Derric Rossy (bleu cheese, red onions).
Rossy, a 1998 graduate, led the Patchogue-Medford High School football team to two Long Island championships and went onto play at Boston College.
In high school, Rossy won the Hansen Award as the Suffolk County Most Valuable Player and is considered among the greatest football players to ever to play in the district. He later became a professional heavyweight boxer. Check out his Wikipedia page.
Rossy orders his namesake burger whenever he’s at Rudi’s, Lauria said.
There’s also a Timmy Trava jersey that hangs at Rudi’s.
Trava graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School in 2000 and went on to become the most decorated soccer player to ever take the field for St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.
“He’s probably one of the best soccer players I’ve ever seen,” Lauria said.
Even though Rudi’s is a sports bar, the burger menu honorees aren’t limited to people known primary for their athletic talents. 1999 graduate Keith Bishop was an Army Green Beret who was killed in a helicopter crash in 10 years later in Afghanistan.
Perhaps Patchogue-Medford best known alumnus, Michael Murphy (1994) was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Navy SEAL was killed leading a team of Navy SEALs in Afghanistan in 2005.
“It’s nothing but absolute respect for what these guys did,” Lauria said. “We can’t name the bar after [Michael Murphy] like the high school named the campus. But I’m just really proud.”
As for Earl Stroman, Lauria said the Suffolk County police detective won’t order The Marcus Stroman while at Rudi’s.
“He never orders his son’s burger,” Lauria said with a laugh. “Always orders The Murphy.”
Photo: Rudi’s co-owner Mike Lauria with The Marcus Stroman burger at Rudi’s in North Patchogue.