The list of a restaurateurs getting their start in Patchogue before opening another location on Long Island continues to grow.
But if you were to drive by Iron Mike’s on Middle Country Road in Selden, its Patchogue pedigree wouldn’t be so readily apparent.
Iron Mike’s is run by the same people who brought you Rudi’s Bar & Grill, which opened in June 2012 on Route 112 in North Patchogue.
Despite Rudi’s popularity here, partners Mike Lauria and Jason “Rudi” Rudilosso, knew their second location was going to carry a different name altogether. So “Rudi’s II” was crossed off the list.
“Rudi’s on 25” or “Son of Rudi” weren’t even thoughts.
“When we named Rudi’s, it was that we needed something quick,” explained Lauria, a 1997 Patchogue-Medford High School graduate. “We had two days to come up with a name, so we went with something short and to the point. Here we were able to give it a little more thought.”
Iron Mike’s does, however, keep the continuity of incorporating one of their names, though it’s somewhat ironic Lauria is from Pat-Med and Rudilosso — the name behind Rudi’s — is the Centereach native.
“Everyone says that to us,” Lauria said.
It took the partners about 18 months to settle on the location. They even flirted with some waterfront spots before a Rudi’s bartender, Genna Yovino, pointed them to the old Limerick’s Irish Pub, which had been closed for nine months.
That was October. They got the keys Dec. 22 and got to work right after Christmas. Iron Mike’s, which not only incorporate’s Lauria’s name, but his passion for boxing — think Iron Mike Tyson — opened Jan. 8 after a makeover.
The much bigger kitchen in Selden allows for a more extensive menu. The new location also has a courtyard and an adjacent catering space that altogether allows for well over 240 people, as compared with 96 at Rudi’s.
But the philosophy remains the same, Lauria said.
“We take pride in giving customers value,” he said. “Since the prior place was closed for so long the biggest obstacle is getting people back. So we’re hoping that with our great menu and our great food and our great service, and what we’ve done with the place, we’ll be able to bring all of them back. Because once they come in, we know they’ll like it.
Like Rudi’s, Iron Mike’s is also looking to be the local spot for watching mixed martial arts on TV. That, and, of course, Lauria’s first love: boxing.
“I do love boxing,” he said. “I’m very passionate about all sports but boxing, definitely. I grew up a huge Rocky fan and that translated into me actually watching boxing.”
So do the 21-year-olds at Iron Mike’s get the Tyson reference?
“They have no idea,” Lauria said.
Top photo: Mike Lauria and bartender Rachel Carmada, who works at Rudi’s and Iron Mike’s.