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Monday, August 1, 2011

Iggy's in St. John's, Arizona

Route 66 Booth at Iggy's Restaurant
On our trip back from California we stopped in St. Johns, Arizona, looking for a place to have breakfast. After driving through town and not finding anything that looked good, me wondering if we would have to end up eating lunch instead of breakfast, we finally found Iggy’s right downtown. We passed it by the first time; it looked like nobody was inside. 

No cars parked in front, quiet. Too quiet. Usually that's my signal to pass up a place, but we were starved. Tom hopped out to check if they were open and they were. 

We went in and ordered. Looking around, we realized that somebody had lovingly decorated the place, each booth devoted to a theme such as Arizona history, Disneyland, Veterans, and even a Chile Booth, with all different kinds of chiles hanging from the booth's ceiling, posters identifying chiles, even a glass case showcasing various hot sauces.

Chile Booth
 While we tucked into our very tasty breakfast, a breakfast burrito for me and ham and eggs for Tom, we talked with the server, wondering why there were no other customers.    

“Because this is a Mormon town, and they don’t support us.  They want us out,” she ruefully replied. Apparently she and her husband had started the business four years ago with high hopes, but because it included a bar that served alcohol next door, (with a separate entrance, she was quick to point out) they had been effectively shunned by the majority of the 3200 residents of St. Johns, 2600 of which were Mormon.

The bar itself is discreetly tucked to the side with a closed door separate from the restaurant. The restaurant had some regular customers, including what the server called "airline people," who came through regularly, and some foreign tourists, but with the sagging economy, fewer and fewer were making it.  

Strangely, she said, whenever the civic leaders of the town want to show off local businesses, they always bring important visitors to this restaurant. Then they ignore it the rest of the time.

“We figure we have 30 days left, and then our million and a half dollar investment will go belly up,” she said, sadly.  

Too bad. The breakfast was great, the d├ęcor delightful. With a prime location in the middle of town, a varied menu, reasonable prices, and great service, this is a restaurant any community should be proud of----and support.   

 The economy is worse than we thought, and  what looks like religious intolerance very much alive in St. Johns, Arizona. We will be coming back in December, and hope very much that Iggy's is still there. If anyone knows about this situation and has another take on it, add your comment. We'd be interested in hearing another side of the story.

Ironically, St. John's has this city motto: "Town of Friendly Neighbors."

6 comments:

  1. There should be someone we could contact(ie. a new organization) to publicize this excellent little restuarant and its plight. Jan

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  2. Jan, I reviewed it on yelp.com so at least people will know that the food is decent. Yelp is a site that reviews all sorts of stuff. I use it to find good restaurants in unfamiliar places.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found the address of the chamber of commerce and sent them a link to this article. info@stjohnschamber.com

    Could you please contact me. I've lost your email and I'd like to send you a copy of the letter.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The St. Johns Regional Chamber of Commerce does not comment on the views of individuals or individual businesses. It is our hope that you will return to St. Johns and explore this wonderful community again.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello all! I helped this woman open this resturaunt. All I have to say is that the town totally supported it; even the Mormon's. The bar is seperate so there's no issues there. The problem is the owner, Karen, is rude and obviously has issues. She is not professional and runs her business as so. The food is great most of the time and yes, she decorated it fantastically. If she would only be more optemistic and not focus so much on her money, or lack thereof, the resturaunt would be doing much better.

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  6. My husband & I came to St. Johns with everything we had. All of our heart, soul, happyness, enthusiasm, and our retirement money. We opened Iggys after working everyday for a year and 1/2 to build, remodel and decorate it. We are now closed. We have lost 1.5 million and are losing our home as well. I have never met as many nasty people, (such as Alecia above), in any one place in my life. The town DID NOT support my restaurant. And Alecia was only with me for a short time, long enough to start pretending that she was the boss and making her own schedule. Which brings me to the rampant problem of a huge LACK of work ethic in this area. Another big suprise. Alecia was Mormon, until she left her husband. She was one of my biggest problems. What I don't miss is all of the nasty, rumor filled, hateful, lazy, jealous people that I have met here. WOW. If you are moving to St Johns, don't open a business here. In the last 2 months, 3 restaurants, the Video store, and the only Hardware store closed.
    In conclusion, I wish to thank all of my customers for your support and I miss you all.

    ReplyDelete

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