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Downtown diner serves last burger

By Staff
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON – Glenda Taylor takes one last hamburger order from Kenny Snowden, left, and his son, Devin, at Jack's Sandwich Shop in downtown Meridian. Kenny Snowden started coming to Jack's when he was 12 years old. He and Devin made their last trip there Friday. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
September 28, 2002
Customers side-stepped the dripping air conditioning unit overhead and entered through the squeaking door to the sound of sizzling burgers and heated conversation.
It was just before lunch on Friday at Jack's Sandwich Shop, but that scene has been repeated daily for more than 40 years at the 714 24th Ave. eatery. And today, it comes to an end.
Jack's will close for good at about 3 p.m., after the last lunch is served.
Ogelsby has owned Jack's for the past nine years one of the last of the old, traditional diners complete with 10 stools lined up in a row next to a wooden lunch counter.
The move
Jack's and two other businesses on the block bordered by 24th and 23rd avenues and Eighth and Seventh streets must close to make room for a new, $7 million downtown parking garage.
BankPlus is expected to move to a new location across from a refurbished Weidmann's restaurant on 22nd Avenue. Lawrence's Jewelry &Repair also is expected to move to a new spot.
The parking garage will serve the new Riley Education and Performing Arts Center. Construction of the six-floor garage is scheduled to begin sometime in the spring.
City officials said the garage is on track.
Loyal customers
To many people, Jack's looks like little more than a hole-in-the-wall joint. An old, dingy 7Up sign outside marks the entrance to the small, narrow restaurant.
A cook and two employees work behind the lunch counter, no more than an arms-length away from customers. People sit so close that they are almost forced to talk to each other.
Other customers agreed.
Kenny Snowden, 44, of Meridian, has been eating at Jack's since he was 12. He brought his 19-year-old son, Devin, with him to eat for the last time Friday.
Next move
Even though Jack's is closing, one employee hopes to carry on its tradition in a new restaurant. Jared Rainer plans to open a restaurant next month and model it after Jack's.
Rainer, who serves customers at Jack's, started working for Ogelsby about a year ago. He never dreamed he eventually would start a restaurant of his own.
Rainer plans to open Jared's on Eighth Street, a block away from Jack's. He said he will buy most of Ogelsby's equipment including an old cash register and an ice box.