Scotia

Hopping Jumpin’ Jack’s a reminder of pre-COVID times for Gazette reporter Shenandoah Briere

Daily Gazette reporters Brian Lee and Shenandoah Briere, both new to the area, enjoy their meal on opening day at Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-in in Scotia on Thursday.
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Daily Gazette reporters Brian Lee and Shenandoah Briere, both new to the area, enjoy their meal on opening day at Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-in in Scotia on Thursday.

If it weren’t for masks you wouldn’t have been able to tell that Jumpin’ Jack’s was opening in the middle of a pandemic for another year of grilling patties and sizzling hotdogs.

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With a line already formed the place opened early Thursday to a bustling crowd eager to munch on some food. I was one of those customers.

It was my first time eating at Jumpin’ Jack’s and I had never experienced something similar back home in central New York unless I was at the New York State Fair. But even then this place operated like a well-oiled machine compared to the many food stands I have partaken in at the fair.

The man tossing patties on the grill was quick and if it wasn’t for the fact that I had prepared for this first outing by peeking at the menu ahead of time, I would’ve been lost in the speed of it all.

My co-worker Brian and I were at least the 10th customers in line, but within a few minutes the guy behind the counter was asking what we wanted.

Names of orders were being shouted left and right and whenever someone gave a tip a cohesive “subway” was yelled by everyone. The cashier filled us in on the cool reason why they say it: The owner had worked in a New York City restaurant many years ago and whenever somebody tipped he would say there was enough money to take the subway home.

I went basic with my meal: cheeseburger, fries and a milkshake. You really can’t go wrong there.

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By weird coincidence the red, white and blue outfit I picked for the day paired perfectly well for a good American pastime of burgers and fries. But what made the meal sweeter was that the owners added a favorite of mine — sweet potato fries– to the menu this year.

There’s nothing better than dipping sweet potato fries into a strawberry shake.

It felt like spring with everything going on around us. People looked relaxed, like the pandemic was long behind us. It felt good, muggy but good.

It was nice to see parents with kids and high-schoolers all enjoying a meal or even just an ice cream. It was like I was back home at my family’s favorite neighborhood ice cream place sitting down to enjoy a vanilla twist with sprinkles.

I think the best part of it all is knowing that it’s a family-run business. But one question remains on my mind: Why do they call it Jumpin’ Jack’s? I guess the best way to get that answer is to go for another milkshake or maybe ice cream and ask.

It definitely was the perfect day to check out another place on my ever-growing list of food spots to scope out as a newcomer to Schenectady County.

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Categories: News, Schenectady County

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