A paddle out is planned for 9 a.m. March 17 in Cayucos to honor Jim Ruddell, owner of Ruddell’s Smokehouse, who died Feb. 16.
The paddle out will be in front of the Smokehouse, 101 D St. in Cayucos, a block south of the Cayucos Pier.
Ruddell’s daughter, Rose Ruddell, wrote on the business’ Facebook page that “Smoker Jim,” as her father was known, was “an incredible and vibrant human, loving, giving, and smoking! We will continue to honor his legacy everyday.”
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Ruddell’s post referred to a story in The Rogue Voice online that said Ruddell died peacefully at 6:40 a.m. Feb. 16, surrounded by his family, after spending nearly six months in the hospital from unspecified medical complications. He was 71.
Ruddell, who spent 30 years as an auto mechanic, opened the Smokehouse in Cayucos in December 2001. Over the years, it’s been featured in Sunset Magazine, Coastal Living Magazine, the Food Network’s “BBQ with Bobby Flay” and Rachael Ray’s food blog. Chris Erskine of the Los Angeles Times wrote last year that Ruddell’s served the “Best fish taco ever. Yes, ever.”
The Smokehouse, a tiny building (just 250 square feet) with a few sidewalk tables out front, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The most popular item on the menu, according to its website, is the smoked albacore taco, but tacos featuring smoked salmon, ahi, shrimp, pork loin, chicken and black beans are also available. Sandwiches are also on the menu.
Sunset called it an “unpretentious joint,” remarking that “the subtle and sweet smoke, plus toppings such as chopped apples, gives Ruddell’s tacos and sandwiches a memorable twist.”