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Jumpin' Jack's warms community

Cold winds and snow don't deter spring tradition

Snow flurries fell over the weekend, but Jumpin' Jack's is summoning spring as the grill sizzles and the soft serve ice cream machines start churning away.

A community staple for 60 years, Jumpin' Jack's has served up countless Jack Burgers, french fries, hot dogs and crispy onion rings over the years. And the cold weather did little to deter customers on opening day Thursday, March 31. For many, as evidenced by the long stretching line, getting an opening day burger is a tradition not affected by weather or one-hour waits. This year marks a new addition to the menu, too bacon.

There was people down here at 9:30 [a.m.] waiting in line, and we open at 11 [a.m.]," said Mark Lansing Jr., general manager for Jumpin' Jack's. "It is pretty much the same whether it is 30 [degrees] or 70. We get the same amount of people."

Lansing, a Niskayuna resident and son of the owner, has worked at the restaurant for 20 years and said he couldn't even guess how many people are served during a typical opening day. All he does is look to make sure there is still a line and the food keeps cooking until everyone is served, even if it goes past the 9:30 p.m. closing time. He said everybody likes to work on opening day and there were about 25 staffers working on Thursday.

On occasion, the weather has forced Jumpin' Jack's to close its doors. With heavy rainfall, the Mohawk River can stretch out across the parking lot too.

"We have had to close in the past for snowstorms, ice or floods. You know, it is part of doing business in the Northeast. You can't wait for it to get nice to open " you might be waiting a long time," said Lansing. "We just do our best to keep the food hot and stay warm while we are serving people and get them out as fast as we can so they can get back to their car or sit down with hot food to eat."

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