By Nathan Bense
It’s nearly hidden from view as you come up the hill by Jamesville Quarry, but pull into Ruston’s parking lot and you’ll often find it packed. Some started coming because it was convenient, near their home or close to their work. People keep coming back for the good food and friendships they have made over the years.
When to go: Ruston’s is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week starting at 5 a.m. until 2 p.m.; it closes at 1 p.m. on Sundays. Crowds come in waves, with many regulars arriving just before 8 a.m., but rarely will you find it to be “slow.”
What to expect: You will feel at home as soon as you step foot inside. A small looking place at first, you can continue straight into the back room that affords more space away from the kitchen and counter. Despite the large amount of space among the two rooms, Ruston’s maintains a quaint feel. Nothing too fancy, the décor sets the perfect tone for a home away from home.
The food: Offering the traditional diner fair, Ruston’s serves hearty portions for very reasonable prices. Talking to the regulars, some of the favorites are the chicken and biscuits, as well as the homemade desserts – especially the carrot cake. And, perhaps most importantly, the coffee is good. Expect to get a solid meal for under $10.
The service: By far, the best part of Ruston’s is the service. The waitresses are attentive, friendly, and seem to have a riot doing what they do. They greet you as you come in, by name if you’re a regular, and ask about your day. They pick up where the conversations left off from the day before and treat you like family. The owner, Bruce Heaney, comes in most days at 4 a.m. to begin peeling potatoes in the back and doubles as one of the diner’s cooks.
The Regulars: If you decide to join the regulars at the counter, expect to be engaged in conversation, and make sure you have some time on your hands. They will welcome you into their community, share stories and memories and make you wish you could join them each day for breakfast. Many of these people have been coming for years, and a lot of them have come to know one another through these daily encounters. They travel back and forth visiting friends further down the counter or at other tables. A waitress described it as their own little club. Luckily for the newbies, it’s one that’s not exclusive.
6293 North Street
Jamesville, N.Y. 13078