Jumpin’ Jack’s jumps back: A look at Schenectady’s favorite burgers

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By Jessica Doran

With spring finally here, there’s one thing on our minds regarding food: BARBECUE.  With that being said, sometimes it is just too hard to find the time or the resources to have a good barbecue on campus (Hello, fire alarms! We don’t need any Campus Safety incidents!) That being said, it’s time to unveil one of the gems of Schenectady eating: Jumpin’ Jack’s.  Many of you have probably already heard of Jumpin’ Jack’s, but for those of you who haven’t, you are seriously missing out, and that is no understatement.

Located across from Collin’s Park in Scotia, Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In has been a staple of Capital District life for 60 years. Serving up the best burgers, hot dogs, fried fish and French fries in town, it is the one and only place to go for a food experience that gets you outside and ready for sunshine. For those of you who are expecting a finer type of dining experience, Jumpin’ Jack’s is probably not right for you. Jumpin’ Jack’s is a dive, but it serves up some of the most superb springtime food you can get.

Last year, Jumpin’ Jack’s fell victim to the flooding from Hurricane Irene. They were completely submerged underwater, but fully recovered from the incident, and are open now. When I asked Information Technology Services Network Manager Dan Mahar for his opinion on Jumpin’ Jack’s, his response said it all: “Let’s go now!”

The first time that I went to the drive-in was a warm day last spring. My best friend grew up in Scotia and has been going to Jumpin’ Jack’s her whole life.

The important thing to understand about this eatery is that it has a culture that is independent from any other burger joint. When you get in line (usually a very long line on any given sunny day) you should immediately start thinking about what you want, because that line will sneak up on you fast. Once you get to the front, get ready to shout! Once you shout out your order, the people at the grill shout back your order in what I like to call “Jumpin’ Jack’s lingo.” “TWISTER, WHALE!” They also yell “Subway!” when they get a tip. I’m sure that there is some method to their madness (and it definitely is madness) because they get everyone’s order correct and with smiles on their faces.

Recently, when I revisted with my friend, she decided to mess with the system, asking to change her order after she initially put it in. I walked away in embarassment. This is a no-can-do. It messes with the organized chaos that somehow creates order at Jumpin’ Jack’s.

It is also vital to make sure that you save enough room for dessert, because no spring meal is complete without it. Jumpin’ Jack’s soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt are some of the best I have ever tasted. They have special flavors every day, and it is just the right treat on a spring afternoon. You can take a walk across the street to the park and stroll as you enjoy your ice cream.

During some weekends in the summer, Jumpin’ Jack’s offers entertainment as well. Nicole Georgelas ‘13 said, “The water-ski events are so cool. The water-skiers will put on a show, fully equipped with stunts and all. They put people on their backs and do flips. It’s really fun to watch.”

Jumpin’ Jack’s is located at 5 Schonowee Avenue in Scotia.

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