Thanks to a naming contest at St. Joseph's Catholic School, the giant rooster on the roof of Jim's Coffee Shop on Fort Street has a name: Rudy.
Name or no name, the iconic bird has stood proud, his chest puffed out over the North End cafe for decades.
The bird's origins are a little mysterious, said Dave Fellows, who bought the restaurant in 1983.
A longtime barber named Jerry used to cut hair in the shop next to Jim's. Jerry told Fellows that the cafe's former owner, Al Landers, bought Rudy from a traveling salesman in the 1960s.
"Barbers are a pretty good source for that kind of information," said Fellows.
The story of Rudy's origins may be apocryphal, but the visuals are fantastic. Sure, chances are any giant bird would have been paid for and delivered by freight at a later date.
But hearing the traveling salesman story, it's impossible to not imagine said salesman driving across the West, window cracked with dry, sage-scented air blowing in, clean dress shirts swaying in his back seat and Rudy strapped to the top of the car.
The rooster stands 7 feet tall. He's made of fiberglass and weighs about 100 pounds. When the building that houses Jim's was being remodeled, Rudy perched inside the restaurant for a while.
Contrary to rumor, pranksters have never stolen the bird.
"But he has been graffitied," said Fellows. "I've had to go up there and scrub him down."
Jim's Coffee Shop, more often redolent of bacon than not, has a devoted clientele.
People come for the classic diner fare. That includes beef stew made fresh every day, and the weekend favorite: western "eggs benny" with homemade biscuits, three strips of ham, two eggs, all covered in sausage gravy.
812 W. Fort St.
Anna Webb: 377-6431