|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.
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 décor 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."