RAPID RIVER, Mich. (WJMN) – Located at the corner of Main Street and US-2 in Rapid River, Jack’s Restaurant is celebrating its 80th anniversary as a local dining staple in 2023.

We spoke with Bobbi Ryan, who co-owns and operates the restaurant along with Cynthia Ivy.

Ryan says she grew up in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and previously lived in California for 23 years as an adult. Eventually, she moved back to Michigan, purchasing property from her dad in Rapid River.

A long-time cook by trade, Ryan says she worked at Jack’s part-time upon moving back to Michigan when it was owned by John Miller, the grandson of the original owners Jack and Vivian Miller who opened the restaurant in 1943. During that time, Ryan began operating the Brisket Barn mobile food truck, which is now a part of Jack’s that serves barbecue at various community events around the U.P.

After more than 70 years of family ownership, Ryan and Ivy purchased Jack’s Restaurant from John Miller when he decided to sell the business. Since then, despite having to navigate issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack’s is still finding success with both with the local community and travelers stopping in for a bite to eat on their way through town.

Ryan describes Jack’s as a restaurant that’s like going to Grandma’s house on Sunday. Their menu is largely made from scratch, with homestyle dishes always on offer.

“I love to make people smile,” Ryan said. “I think food is about family, and gatherings, and happy stuff.”

Signature Dishes

Jack’s is known for their Sunday dinner, which is a full multicourse meal with soup, salad, entrée, and desert all in one package. The entrée dish centers around their homestyle items like roast beef, pork, turkey, or baked ham. They are also known for their sandwiches, such as the reuben, which Ryan says is their number one seller. Check out some of the options below:

For more of a breakfast flavor, Jack’s is also known for their homemade cinnamon rolls. For the restaurant’s 80th anniversary, Jack’s is hosting an eating challenge in which about 20 competitors will attempt to eat an 80 oz. cinnamon roll. You can stop in on May 13 at 12 p.m. to witness the challenge itself, or stop in another time to try the regular rolls they are well-known for.

Which items deserve more attention?

Ryan says an item that deserves more attention is their bacon barbecue skillet, which Ryan says has a lot of different flavors from their popular barbecue options. While people may not initally flock to it, Ryan says she get a ton of positive feedback after running it as a special item on their menu or describing it to customers who’ve stopped in. Check out some of their barbecue below:

Additional Information

For Jack’s ongoing 80th birthday celebration, you can keep an eye out for upcoming specials for Mother’s and Father’s Day, as well as for barbecue items from their smokehouse.

You can stop into eat at Jack’s at 7897 South Main Street in Rapid River. Their current summer hours are 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

You can also stay up to date with all things Jack’s by checking out their Facebook page at Jack’s Restaurant Rapid River Michigan.

Who should we feature next week? Let us know by emailing news@upmatters.com and put Restaurant of the Week in the subject line.