Forty years ago, Raoul and Betty Lemieux bought The Rustic Grill, remodeled the restaurant and shortened its name to The Rustic. They had just moved to Ocala from Miami Beach, and Raoul would often assist their chef in the kitchen.
“From the opening night, we made friends,” Betty remembers. “We had good food and loyal clients that made us a success.”
To this day, they still do—even after leasing the restaurant to different people over the years. In 2011, they reopened it under the name Braised Onion and have been running the place ever since. Since Raoul’s passing in 2013, Betty and her daughter, Nicole, have worked hard to keep the restaurant going strong.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” Betty says. Though there are too many people for her to mention, Betty credits Jim and Virginia Smith, the Peeks, the Albrights, the Malevers, Dick Dewey and his nephew John Gallager, John Hiers, Dennis and Ginette Baxley, Henry and Marge Moxon and Paul and Peggy Wilson for supporting Braised Onion and helping her family along the way.
Braised Onion enjoys consistent patronage and a full reservation list, along with a busy schedule of hosted events and celebrations. Their menu centers on its ‘Comfort Food With Attitude’ slogan, and their chef of five years, Abner Bueso, builds on and customizes the menu three times a year. This self-taught chef has excelled at Braised Onion, and the many Taste of Ocala awards hanging on the restaurant’s walls attest to his culinary talent.
Braised Onion also offers catering, and Susan and Cheri work with brides to coordinate and decorate for their special day, often turning the restaurant’s banquet room into an elaborate space. The main restaurant area provides both casual seating with tables in the lounge area and more intimate seating with cozy booths in the back. Enjoy live jazz music by Rudy Turner on Fridays and a wine list brimming with wines for every taste.