“Eight years of work has now brought this business to exactly how I envisioned it to be,” says Karie Myers, owner of JIGGER’S DINER, reflecting on everything from those early years of menu development to the challenges and quick pivots this past year has brought. Diving into a plate of all-day breakfast from this classic East Greenwich dining car (with humble origins as a 1917 lunch cart), you may not guess the diner’s recent evolutions under Karie’s creative thinking to shape their menu and service around the needs of today’s eaters.
Karie’s path to owning her own business is long and winding, but rooted in more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry – beginning at the age of 14 and eventually co-owning a restaurant for eight years. As a licensed physical therapist assistant, Karie has also worked in skilled nursing facilities across the state, the breadth of her hospitality and people skills far-reaching. “Realizing my entrepreneurial passion for running my own restaurant still existed in 2010, I began searching for a new location to purchase,” Karie recalls, and a couple years later the sale of Jigger’s was secured and the historic diner opened its doors under Karie’s ownership in September of 2012.
Along with her entrepreneurial spirit, Karie has put in years of sweat equity at the grill. “I absolutely love to cook! I enjoy making delicious meals and making people happy eating them,” explains Karie. “I have always been the one who prepares family holiday meals, always making too much food and sending everyone off with take-home containers. In the restaurant, I really enjoy seeing the customer’s look of delight when their meal is delivered to the table.” While diner staples like pancakes, bacon, and burgers reign supreme, Karie has crafted a menu with something for everyone, whether that means lower-carb sides like black bean sweet potato hash or gluten-free versions of any menu offering upon request. Fresh fruit and sliced avocado can complement decadent French toast, or you can’t lose with eggs and homefries.
Today, the diner continues to serve takeout, curbside pickup, and even delivery as the industry weathers the pandemic, with indoor dining that follows regulation and some new outdoor dining options, too. Karie’s team of dedicated staff are constantly finding ways to improve customer experience and fulfill the main objective to “serve quality, consistent meals with professional, prompt service.” Karie sees the best of both worlds under recent operations: “Prior to the pandemic, I was primarily in the kitchen, which limited my interaction with the customers. Over the past year, my kitchen staff has greatly improved their performance, which now allows me to be in the front of the house,” where she can monitor the meals coming out and also still share in folks’ delight when their order is up.
This year looks bright for the little 1950s diner car that could. A new outdoor dining experience sharing tables with Main Street Coffee allows patrons to sip a cocktail from next-door Toscana Bar, accompanying full-service dining from Jigger’s. Says Karie, “Although 2020 was a challenging year for all of us, we at Jigger’s Diner are excited to look forward to 2021 with our new food delivery expansions. We are also expanding our kitchen this spring to introduce catering!” For updates on these exciting changes, follow along on their Facebook page and website. From loyal customers to regulars who visit daily, Karie expresses, “We are truly grateful for all of the community’s support, including the EG Chamber of Commerce, who has been incredibly supportive to small businesses, especially during this pandemic.”
145 Main Street, East Greenwich • 884-6060