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Jumpin' Jacks takes unprecedented measure during heat wave

Jumpin' Jacks takes unprecedented measure during heat wave

Jumpin' Jacks temporarily ice cream-only, as heat wave shuts kitchen for first time in 52 years
Jumpin' Jacks takes unprecedented measure during heat wave
Twin sisters Emilia and Isabel Giovannone, 3, enjoy soft-serve ice cream with sprinkles Monday at Jumpin' Jack's in Scotia.
Photographer: John Cropley

SCOTIA -- The burgers aren't the only things frying at Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In these days. 

Mark Lansing Sr., owner of the Scotia landmark, shut down the kitchen both Sunday and Monday. It hit 135 degrees inside, too hot for the people working there.

That was a first in the 52 years he's owned it, and he doesn’t think it ever happened in the 10 years or so before he owned it.

The Jumpin’ Jack’s ice cream stand remained open, and business was busy Monday, even though there were no dogs, fries or jackburgers coming out of the kitchen.

“You can’t breathe in the place,” Lansing said.

Also Tuesday:

The situation may change Tuesday, though the heat wave is expected to continue. Lansing is getting some portable air conditioners that could bring the temperature in the kitchen down enough to reopen.

The severity of the heat became apparent Saturday when an employee required emergency medical attention.

The problem wasn’t just the fryers and grills inside, but all the blacktop in the large parking lot outside, Lansing said. The ventilation system is designed to suck in cool outside air as it pumps out hot inside air and smoke, but the outside air is now just as hot, thanks to the ground radiating heat from sunlight it has absorbed.

He said the decision to close was made “for my employees’ health and well-being,” and customers appear to be very understanding.

“We’re going to shoot for maybe [reopening] tomorrow,” Lansing said on Monday.

The ice cream stand is only a few feet from the fryers, but it’s in a separate building -- cool and comfortable inside. It remains open and busy through the heat wave, turning out a variety of frozen treats. 

But they are melting quickly once they get outside.

“It’s moving pretty good right now; you​ just have to eat it fast, is all,” Lansing said.

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