For the last five years, people in Elizabethton have become accustomed to something they’ve never seen before: a downtown option for great pizza, cold beer, and quality live entertainment.
Jiggy Ray’s Downtown Pizzeria has become a staple for the town, and has developed what owner John “Bull” Malone refers to as a “cult following.” It just takes one visit to the small storefront restaurant to understand why.
He and his partner John Seehorn have developed that following by providing diners with a family atmosphere and a friendly night out. Whether they’re hoping to grab a few slices of some of the finest pizza in the region, or to catch a few tunes from some of the area’s best musicians and singers, Jiggy Ray’s has become a destination.
It begins with the food, and the quality.
“Starting with our Antimo Caputo flour, we make our dough from scratch daily,” says Malone. “Then we combine quality ingredients and our slow rise process to bring you the best pizza crust this side of the moon. Our pizzas are topped with a perfect blend of Mozzarella, provolone and Parmesan, then sprinkled with a touch of oregano, and we only use the very best ingredients at every step.”
Given the option to save a few dollars or compromise their reputation for the finest quality ingredients, the staff at Jiggy Ray’s opted to spend a little more, which says all you need to know about their commitment to pleasing their regulars.
“The Antimo Caputo flour is literally twice as expensive as All Trumps or Pillsbury flour, but when we did a blind taste test of forty of our friends before we opened, thirty-nine of them chose this pizza, and the only difference was the flour. Using the best ingredients you can find truly does make a difference.”
The commitment to quality doesn’t stop at pizza - their salad bar has its own legion of fans that tout the fresh ingredients and dedication to flavor, and people have been known to make a trek across the mountain to take a bite out of the Itappalachian Legend sandwich (a slow-cooked Italian beef offering that has developed a legend of its own).
People also make Jiggy’s a destination on the weekends, when bands throughout the region take the stage for intimate shows that never charge a cover. Acts such as 7 Mile Mushroom, Reagan Boggs, Southern Rebellion, Thursday Evening Porch Choir, and more have become regular visitors to the corner stage, and keep coming back for the same reason - they’re now a part of the Jiggy Ray’s family.
“We believe in creating an environment where you want to enjoy yourself,” says Malone, “It’s a home to our employees, it’s a home to us, and it’s a home to our customers. It makes a difference when people walk through the door and they feel like they’re at home.”
When they feel at home, they feel like family, and that’s just fine with Malone and the staff at Jiggy Ray’s, because they have developed a family bond of their own over the years. And they’re happy to share it with the people who keep coming back for more.
Jiggy Ray’s is located in historic, downtown Elizabethton at 610 East Elk Avenue. You can call for takeout or information at 423-518-1500, or find them on the web at jiggyrays.com.