Shut in our homes and apartments, unable to go to restaurants, we remember restaurants, the occasions that brought us to them, the people we were with, the meals we had.
I summon up O’Brien’s Restaurant in Waverly, where my grandfather lived. It was high on a hill, overlooking a valley. It was special when we were young, as was the Castle in Olean.
I never went to the Rund’s Restaurant in downtown Rochester, the one on South Avenue. It was operated by William Rund, whose son, Richard, also a restaurateur, died recently at age 89 of COVID-19. He had begun his career working for his dad.
But news of Richard’s death prompted Doris Adamek to write me about her memories of the South Avenue Rund’s, where, for her, lobster and love were on the menu.
Doris was in her first year at the University of Rochester Nursing School, in either 1954 or 1955, when Jack Adamek, her future husband, first took her to Rund’s.
“For $3.75 you could order their ‘shore dinner,’ and we did this several times,” Doris wrote. “It started with clam chowder, a large shrimp cocktail, a dozen steamed clams, and a whole boiled lobster.”
At first, Doris was baffled by the finger bowls on the table, and the lobster was a challenge. She had grown up in a “meat and potatoes” family unfamiliar with fish. But Jack taught her how to crack a claw and what to eat and not to eat.
They returned to Rund’s often – it was their place – and were married in 1958. Actually, that union was in the works ever since Doris and Jack were in the same kindergarten class in Irondequoit and she came home and told her mother that she had just met the “cutest boy.”
Jack died of leukemia this past January after years of battling health issues. Doris lives in St. John’s Meadows in Brighton, which she likes. But, confined to an apartment because of state mandates, she misses being out and about.
“Being here alone is not the best time to be grieving,” she told me. “And now I have too much time to think.”
Technology has helped her, as she takes part in a weekly video gathering of a church group. And she’s beginning to use Zoom for the presentations she gives on Rochester history. They sometimes touch upon downtown Rochester restaurants, including Rund’s and its special place in her heart.
More from Jim’s series: During the shutdown, porches fill up with pickups, drop-offs and kindness
The plan was to potty-train during the shutdown. What could go wrong?
A lilac tree brings memories of a relative she never got to meet
From his home in Livingston County, retired senior editor Jim Memmott will document the new normal of living in a socially distant world. He can be reached at [email protected] or write Box 274, Geneseo, NY, 14454.
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