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A Year of Change at Jakers Bar and Grill

Published online: Jul 12, 2021 Articles, Dining, Lifestyle Lane Miles
Viewed 8808 time(s)

It might seem like there are a lot of changes happening at Jakers Bar and Grill with the passing of Tammy Sorenson and the retirement of Patti Jennings, but the faces stepping forward to fill their shoes have worked with the franchise for several years. 

Patti: 30 Years Later

Retiring after a successful career

How do you say goodbye after 30 years working for one company? Patti Jennings would admit that it doesn’t come without its difficulties saying farewell to a team that has become her second family, but she is also happily looking forward to the next phase in her life. IFM staff stopped by Jakers to speak with Patti before her retirement in June.

IFM: What are you looking forward to most about retiring? 

PJ: Well, I chose to retire in June because I want this summer to garden. My husband likes to go fishing. So, I’m looking forward those two things as well as more time with my family.

IFM: Where are some of the things that you’ve enjoyed most about working at Jakers?

PJ: Oh, the people. The people that work here and the guests that come in. The people that work here are family. We’ve been together for a long time. We just have this family connection. Even new people that come aboard are like family. Once they get in here, you feel like you’ve known them for the whole time you’ve worked here. As far as the guests go, I started here as a server and I still love to go around and just visit with the guests, both people who have been coming here a long time and new faces. I like to introduce myself and meet them. It’s all about the relationships we share with people. 

IFM: How do you feel as you reflect on the 30 years of your career at Jakers?

PJ: I will always love Jakers. I started here when our youngest started first grade. I was a stay-at-home mom and, basically I was just trying to get out of the house to meet with people. I have grown to love the people that come in [and] the people that I’ve worked with. It’s been a really great experience. 

Early in my career at Jakers, my husband wanted me to finish college. And I said, “Why? I love Jakers!” So, that’s when I just started diving into different things at the restaurant. I started as a server. Then I went into cooking and bartending and hosting. I just pretty much learned it all. And then they guided me into a management position.

Cyndi: The New Boss

Continuing a legacy of love and family

Cyndi Finn has worked for Jakers Bar and Grill for 8 years collectively, all of which has been under the management of Patti Jennings. Patti will now be passing off the baton to Cyndi who is ready to run at full-speed, carrying on the 30-year legacy has built while at the same time forging a path of her own.

IFM: What experience did you have before joining the management team at Jakers?

CF: I worked as the assistant manager at Red Robin for about a year. Then I moved to St. Louis where I worked at the Hampton Inn, which was a 190-room hotel. I was the food and beverage coordinator. The management team actually created the position for me. It was cool that they thought enough of me to actually create a position for me to be able to utilize my skills.

IFM: What have you loved most about working for Jakers so far?

CF: I love the people, whether it be staff or guests. Jakers has been here so long and been such a successful restaurant. We have a lot of loyal guests who come in every week. They are almost like family because they’ve been coming in for so long. 

Our team is also very well connected and we all get along very well. At any job you spend at least if not more time with your team than you spend with your family. So your team becomes your family.

IFM: What are some of the things you’re looking forward to now that you’re going to be taking over as manager?

CF: The opportunity to create my own team and watch it grow, watch it be successful. It’s like having a baby and watching your baby grow up and become new things. I’m looking forward to cheering them on.

IFM: What are some of your favorite dishes to recommend to guests that come in?

CF: Oh, I’m a ribeye girl all the way around. However, for someone who likes the more marbled steak, I would recommend the filet and the sirloin. They’re both very lean. We just have good quality beef. I also like to order the chicken parmesan and replace the marinara with alfredo sauce. And then of course the billion dollar salad, because it has a wide variety of toppings. 

Saying Goodbye to Tammy

Carrying on the legacy of the former chef

Tammy Sorenson passed away last July from metastatic breast cancer, leaving a large hole members of the Jakers Bar and Grill staff in Idaho Falls continue to feel a year later. Tammy worked at Jakers for a total of 26 years and her kitchen staff continues to rely on the lessons she taught them as they continue to grow and move forward. 

“Tammy was always a genuinely friendly person,” said Patti Jennings. “She was always wanting to do the best job possible and she was very good at that. She was very good at her position. The other locations would always ask her questions. They valued her opinion. She was good with recipes and everything else she did in the kitchen.”

Tammy’s legacy as a master chef and teacher of her craft will be valued at Jakers Bar and Grill, and throughout the community, for years to come.

Mario: The New Chef

Meet the new face behind the food at Jakers

Before Tammy passed away she was already in the process of training Mario Ponce, the new executive chef of Jakers Bar & Grill. Well aware of the big shoes he has to fill, Mario works hard to continue to bring tasty foods to the plates of loyal customers. Like Tammy, his position as chef isn’t just a job—it’s a lifestyle.

“I like everything that I do here,” said Mario, “Especially because unlike major chains we make all of our food from scratch. Our soups are made from scratch. There is no such thing as frozen in our kitchen.”

Chill Lantro Rita

There’s a new drink in town at the bar! If you haven’t tried the latest margarita on the menu at Jakers, then you will want to make sure to ask your server about it during your next visit to Jakers. One of the secret ingredients: jalapeño juice! 


For More Information

Jakers Bar and Grill

851 Lindsay Blvd · 208-524-5240


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