DALLAS –– Landmark Lancaster Ave. restaurant Rudy's Chicken is well known throughout Oak Cliff –– so much so that the Dallas City Council approved an $890,000 grant to expand its operations last last month.
On Wednesday, the business broke ground on the expansion: A new building next door to the old one with a double drive through.
"I am thoroughly proud and absolutely appreciative," said owner Rudolph Edwards, who joined his wife in describing the day as a dream come true.
Rudy's Chicken has been planted in the same spot for the past 25 years in an area where consistent commerce is hard to come by. Defending the grant, the city has described its longevity as a message for other businesses: work hard and success can come.
Mayor Mike Rawlings says it's the beginning of an effort to take back underdeveloped neighborhoods under his GrowSouth initiative, meant to boost the safety and economies there.
"There's a lot of cool bridges, we've done a lot of museums, we've opened some parks, but there is nothing more important we can do than to help a small businessman succeed," Rawlings said.
Rudy's patrons line up in freezing temperatures and in sweltering heat, as they did on Wednesday. For Marque Haynes, "it's the seasoning on the fries and the food. It's addictive."
"I come here all the time," added Evelyn Hurd.
Critics say the mayor's plan can be better spent. However, patrons join city officials who say the food will be the way to heart of more developers.
The city points to the upcoming mixed-used development named the Lancaster Urban Village, which will bring 193 apartments along with 14,000 square feet of retail and office space.
"This is one heck of a day here in this community and this city," said Councilman Dwaine Caraway, who represents the district and lobbied the council for the grant.