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Rapid River landmark marks 75 years |

Rapid River landmark marks 75 years

According to Bobbi Ryan, one of the owners of the eatery, Jack’s has been a community staple in Rapid River ever since it opened its doors in 1943.

Ryan explained the Miller family of Rapid River owned the restaurant up until three years ago when Ryan and Cynthia Ivy purchased it.


Over the years, Jack’s has seen some changes, said Ryan, but for the most part, the restaurant is in its original state — including the iconic sign that sits atop the restaurant. The sign was added in December of 1956.

It was removed from the restaurant for a year for repairs and was back at its rightful spot in July of 2016. The sign is considered to be a part of Rapid River’s history.

The back portion of the eatery called “The Halfway House” served as the original owner’s home for a period of time. The name “halfway house” stems from its location being the halfway point between Brampton and St. Jaques, said Ryan.

John “Jack” and Vivian Miller opened the restaurant in 1943. They owned it for years, until it was passed on to their first son, Jack Miller. For a short period of time, Jack’s was known as the “Palm Cafe,” noted Ryan.

The eatery was passed onto Jeff and John Miller, Jack and Vivian’s sons, who owned the restaurant until 2015. Jack Sr. passed away in September of 2004.

Ryan said one thing that Jack’s Restaurant prides itself on is customer service.

“We’re very into our customers,” said Ryan. “Jack (Sr) was good at that, too.”

Ryan explained the customers at Jack’s are loyal and have stuck around for the “up north family style” cooking. Employees and patrons know each other by name and on a personal level.

A lot of high schoolers from Rapid River Public Schools have also made Jack’s their first job, noted Ryan, adding she and Ivy are continuing this tradition and giving students a stepping stone into the workforce.

“We love having Jack’s as a first step for kids,”said Ryan, commenting it provides good job skills for future employment. Currently, over 29 employees work at Jack’s.

Along with workers, customers come back to Jack’s for their made from scratch menu items, said Ryan. In 1964, a visitor to the restaurant could purchase a T-bone steak for $3 and a cheeseburger for 35 cents.

While prices have changed, menu items are near the same, noted Ryan, including omelets, skillets, hand-cut steaks, burgers, sandwiches, fish, baked goods and much more. Ryan said the eatery’s most popular item is its Rueben sandwich.

Ryan noted typically Jack’s busiest times are the first weekend in May through hunting season in November.

This year, business has picked up more than usual, said Ryan, noting she and her employees like the increase in patronage.

To celebrate 75 years, Ryan said Jack’s is hosting a commemorative party on Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. The public is welcome to come enjoy appetizers and cake and share their Jack’s stories.

“Every day somebody is telling a story,” said Ryan of the customers and how they remember the restaurant.

Ryan said she thinks Jack’s has stuck around for 75 years because of its continuous pride in the community and sticking with tradition.

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