It’s make or break for restaurants during ‘Summer Rush’ on Food Network


‘Summer Rush’ – A restaurant family depends on tourist season

Buddy Foy Jr. and Jen Foy

Anyone who has ever owned a restaurant will tell you it’s a difficult business.

There are employees to manage, food to buy, books to maintain, a facility to keep clean to government standards, a front of the house to keep an eye on, the fickle whims of the dining public to which you must cater and competition from other restaurants. And then of course, you have to make enough money to live on. No small order, pardon the pun.

But in resort areas such as Lake George, N.Y., there is another problem. With a short tourism season, restaurants need to make enough money from July 4th to Labor Day to stay in business. And if the weather is bad or tourists just decide to go elsewhere, the restaurateur is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Such are the challenges faced by the Foy family in the four-part series “Summer Rush,” airing Thursdays on Food Network. Filmed last summer, the series follows the ups and downs of life in the restaurant business as experienced by two generations of restaurant lifers: Buddy Sr. and wife Cate, owners of Cate’s Italian Garden in Bolton Landing; son Buddy Jr. and wife Jen, who own and operate the high-end eatery Chateau on the Lake in Bolton Landing; and son Jesse and wife Jessica, proprietors of the burger and fish joint Diamond Point Grille in Diamond Point.

From completing last-minute renovations before a big event to coping with power outages, life is always interesting for Buddy Jr. and Jen, who must come up with creative work-arounds when such problems present themselves at the Chateau.

“We got hit just before dinner service,” Buddy Jr. recalls of a massive power failure that hit the Adirondacks last year. “It was like the reservations are in, people are coming and – boom! – power’s out and we’ve got to move fast. … And there’s health issues in a gas restaurant versus electric, which is the fumes. So can we get the fumes out of the building (and) can we get our hood (fan) power? If we can get our hood powered, we’re in business and we’ll do it via candle light. So we went for it in that regard.”

Being a fine-dining eatery, Chateau on the Lake always has lots of expensive, rare wines on hand. But the collapse of a rack in the cellar reduced their number, which Foy Jr. learned about on camera.

“I think we had some executives visiting us that week,” he says. “My chef walks out in the middle of us doing a scene and explains that there’s something going on down in the basement, and the way that he said it was a little freaky. Let’s just say that was a very sad day for me because my specialty and my passion is wine. And you can’t replace certain vintages.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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