Less than a mile from the Iowa border, in the southeastern corner of the state, sits the town of Hudson.
It’s a small community with a population of just around 300 people, but it has a wide draw.
Downtown Hudson is home to Waddy’s Bar & Grill, and it has been for 18-plus years.
Owner Adam Waterman is a local who used to drive a truck for a living. Back in the 1990s, however, he seized an opportunity to open a restaurant in the small town.
“I’m from the area, I know the community, and it seemed like a good opportunity,” said Waterman.
Since then, the restaurant has experienced massive growth, both in space and popularity.
It began when Waterman acquired the restaurant next door and used the space to expand his seating. Since then, he says he’s added on at least five more times.
Right next door, Waterman operates The Buckaroo and The Parlour, which serve as a more traditional dining room and event space, compared to the bar and grill. Both operate alongside Waddy’s and serve the same menu.
Around 2003, Waterman says he started to notice the restaurant gaining more popularity. Like many small-town establishments, Waddy’s serves the surrounding towns as well.
Waterman says his main customer base reaches a 20-mile radius, but on the weekends, people will travel in from as far as Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Iowa, and beyond.
According to Waterman, it’s become a destination for motorcyclists who enjoy the scenic drive to Hudson.
“We’re in a nice location—if you’re coming from the south, you’re coming up Highway 12 which is pretty scenic, and if you’re coming from the north, you come down through Newton Hills which is also a nice ride,” he said.
And once they arrive, the Waddy’s menu has more than enough to satisfy a hungry traveler.
“Our appetizer menu is huge,” said Waterman.
Popular items include traditional pub fare like steak tips, Waddy’s Wings, burgers, and pizza. But one of the more unique draws to the bar is its famous Chief’s Bloody Mary.
» BATTERED COD FILET
» BELLY BUSTER FISH SANDWICH
» BROCCOLI CHEDDAR BITES
» HOT ONION SCOOPS
» PRIME RIB
» SURF & TURF
» TACO BURGER
“The story is, when we first opened we had this customer who wanted to work a few hours on Sundays fixing Bloody Marys for us,” explained Waterman. “We said, ‘Sure,’ and soon it went from that to him making gallons at a time.”
Now you can purchase Chief’s Bloody Mary mix by the jug to take home, or simply enjoy one with your meal.
And on Sundays, the savory drink is just $1.75 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Beyond the menu, Waddy’s is known for its activity lineup, which also includes charitable benefits.
The bar and grill features traditional offerings like darts, billiards, Texas hold ‘em, karaoke, live music, and sports, but Waddy’s also has two sand volleyball courts with active leagues during the summer months.
In fact, for the last few years Waddy’s has hosted Spike for a Cure; a tournament benefiting a local family whose daughter passed away from cancer.
Additionally, the local Pink Ladies darts chapter held a fundraiser, Chase the Queen, at the bar last summer that raised over $360,000 for families suffering from cancer within the Hudson area.
Throughout the summer, Waddy’s is also the site of weekend poker runs, which Waterman says is one of their most popular events.
Known for its friendly staff, buzzing atmosphere, and tasty Bloody Marys, Waddy’s is worth the summer day trip.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WADDYSBAR.COM.