The Foy family knows all about the seasonal hustle and this year they’re sharing it with the rest of the world with “Summer Rush” on Food Network.
Cate and Edward “Buddy” Foy Sr. have owned and operated Cate’s Italian Garden in Bolton Landing for 25 years. Two of their sons and their partners have opened restaurants in town in the last few years. Edward “Buddy” Foy Jr. and his wife Jennifer, run The Chateau on the Lake, and Jesse and Jessica Foy run the Diamond Point Grille.
“Summer Rush” takes viewers through what a typical summer season is like for the family, who are trying to make the majority of their money for the year between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The show premiered earlier this month, and while it is a reality show, the Foys said they all felt like the show’s production team captured exactly what the family business is like.
“I know when people see a reality show they think a lot of that stuff’s made up, but it’s not,” Jesse said.
“I got to tell ya, it was real everyday stuff that goes on between three restaurants. We certainly did not read off a script,” Cate said.
The production team filled the entire show last summer on an intense schedule and some regular customers didn’t love the cameras being a part of their dining experience.
“Some of our customers enjoyed it, some didn’t. Some got upset by it. We had to pick up a lot of dinners because they got a little upset because of the cameras,” Cate said.
Yet, for Bolton Landing natives Edward Jr. and Jesse, it gave them the spark they both needed to keep going.
“I prayed for the show. I’m not even joking. I got on my knees and said ‘I need something new. I need something different. What can we do just to get things to the next level of creativity?’ My wife and I moved back home, I grew up here and I moved back here seven years ago after being in the city for 15-20 years. You wonder did you do the right thing with the kids moving up here?” Edward Jr. said.
The show felt like a confirmation that he’d made the right call by opening The Chateau back in 2013.
For Jesse, who opened up the Diamond Point Grille five years ago after Edward Sr. refused to make him a partner in Cate’s Italian Garden, the long hours and the intensity of keeping up with a young business was wearing on him before the show came along.
“I was not feeling it anymore, working really hard and struggling financially with the business, and I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the restaurant business anymore because it’s such a tough industry. Especially being up here, it’s so seasonal, you’ve got such a short period of time to make your money and being a new business it takes that three to five-year mark to get over that plateau where things get easier. When Food Network called . . . the excitement came back, that passion came back. It got me [to] really step up my game,” Jesse said.
The show focuses not only on running the business but also on the family dynamics between the brothers and their parents, which can get intense, especially when things go wrong. According to the Foys, the show is not only entertaining, but it also does a great job of highlighting the area.
“That’s one thing that takes me back about the show, what got me excited more than anything was how well they portrayed our area. It looks gorgeous. That is what’s really cool and it’s bringing people to the region,” Edward Jr. said.
“This show is going to be big for the Capital Region, especially with the COVID thing. We’re getting national exposure for Lake George, Bolton Landing and the Capital Region. We need every help right now we possibly can [get],” Jesse said.
With the restrictions put in place surrounding COVID-19, all three of the family businesses are down, though in the last week or so they’ve started to see more and more customers coming back.
“I can tell you that after this weekend, my staff is exhausted. . . We went from 0 miles an hour to 500 miles an hour,” Edward Jr. said.
Part of the uptick in customers is due to “Summer Rush.”
“We saw a good 40-50% of our customers this weekend from the mid-west and the west coast that came to visit because of the TV show. It was overwhelming, people were taking selfies with my wife,” Edward Jr. said.
Fran Cosmo, the former lead singer of Boston, came to visit Cate’s last week after seeing the show. According to Cate, he was craving Edward Sr.’s lasagne and wanted to meet the man himself. Around the same time, a woman from Arizona called the restaurant and wanted to see if she could get a Cate’s Italian Garden hat.
The next episode airs at 10 p.m. on Thursday and the viewership will factor into whether or not the show will continue for a second season.
“We’re hoping Food Network likes it and everybody loves it and Nielsen Ratings come out and we’re able to get a chance to do season two. But with COVID, life stopped. Everything stopped. I think it’s a happy show [given] what the world’s going through right now,” Cate said.
New episodes are available to view on Food Network and foodnetwork.com.