Bainbridge native Jason MacPherson is realizing his dream close to home.
MacPherson, 35, reopened Jerry’s Inn at 18 W. Main St. in Bainbridge, on Dec. 8. Before the opening, Jerry’s was closed for a year-and-a-half, MacPherson said, though it opened as a restaurant in 1939.
The pub-style space, MacPherson said, combines his passions.
“When I was in high school, I was looking to go into something with sports, and I fell in love with food,” he said. “I was trying to figure out how to combine the two, and I found a sports bar. I did the restaurant management program at (SUNY) Delhi and got a four-year degree. I was working in Binghamton ever since and doing (sports) photography on the side.”
Jerry’s Inn, he said, is furnished throughout with local sports photos taken by him and his brother, Ricky, including a wall of state and section team photos.
MacPherson said the start of the COVID-19 pandemic proved a blessing in disguise.
“I worked in the (Veterans Memorial) Arena in Binghamton as the skybox chef,” he said. “When COVID hit, the hockey season stopped, and I sort of lost my job. So, I talked to the owner of Jerry’s at the time, and he didn’t want to deal with COVID and was looking for a way out, so I put my name in. We started talking just before Christmas last year, then things got serious in the springtime, and I closed on it in September.
“It’s always been sort of my dream to do it and I always wanted to own my own place,” MacPherson continued. “I probably wouldn’t have done it if COVID hadn’t hit, but it just seemed to work out for me.”
Jerry’s, MacPherson said, features classic casual fare. The restaurant, he said, employees between 10 and 15 people and offers lunch and dinner.
“It’s burgers, wings, sandwiches — that type of stuff,” he said. “Our burgers seem to be really popular, and our street tacos and chicken gyros.”
And diners, MacPherson said, are happy to see the restaurant returned.
“Everyone seems to be loving it and they couldn’t wait to get the place opened back up,” he said. “It’s been a huge response and we’re busy every single night. People seem to be really enjoying it. We are getting people from around the area — people from Norwich, Greene and Walton — but the major (customer base) is Bainbridge people.”
Though restaurant ownership has not been without its hurdles, MacPherson said, that support and response from customers makes it worthwhile.
“Really getting the startup and in the flow of things and figuring things out that I’m not used to (has been a challenge),” he said. “I’ve been in the kitchen, so I’m trying to learn the rest of the restaurant as I go. But the enjoyment that people are having here — that includes the workers and the customers – that makes me happy.”
MacPherson said he hopes to build on that momentum while deepening his ties to the community and its athletics.
“Once we get rolling and once football season starts, I plan to have Sunday takeout and more TVs,” he said. “And … because a lot of schools stream their sports, it would be fun if I could get some of that, and we’re going to focus when we can on our photography and trying to expand that. I do want to expand the menu more … and get more involved in trying specials.”
Jerry’s Inn is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 11 to 10 Friday and Saturday; noon to 8 Sunday; and closed Monday.
For more information, call 607-320-4545, find “Jerry’s Inn” on Facebook or follow @jerrys_inn on Instagram.