City, county and state officials attended a special event at J&M Grill on Tuesday to celebrate 40 years in business as one of Hagerstown’s most popular restaurants. Mayor David S. Gysberts was in attendance and reminisced about eating at the restaurant as a youngster.
“I would come here with my dad and the food was always good home-cooked food. I think the success of this business is a testament to the product and the service. For a restaurant business to last this long is great, as it is a difficult industry,” Gysberts said.
Also in attendance was Washington County Commissioner William McKinley who, on behalf of the county commissioners, presented MaeEtta McAfee with a certificate of achievement for 40 years in business.
A Senatorial Certificate was presented by Juliana Albowitz, representing U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. Representatives from the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and Ronald Bowers, of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, also were present.
In recent years, MaeEtta’s daughter Jackie McAfee has taken over the day-to-day management of the grill.
“Our customers are loyal and I am thrilled that we are celebrating 40 years in business. The secret to our success is the fact that all our food is cooked fresh and you can see what we are cooking, I think that is important,” said Jackie McAfee.
“My husband would be so proud if he were here today,” said MaeEtta McAfee. “He was a great cook. Sadly we lost him several years ago. But we worked through the good times and the bad times and we provide great service and great quality food.”
“I probably come two or three times each week and the country ham and eggs is my favorite,” said Steve Kline, a Hagerstown resident who has been eating at the grill for 40 years.
Kline’s sentiments were echoed by many regulars, including Richard Cramer of Funkstown.
“Great food, the best breakfast in town. I come here every day and have for more than 20 years,” Cramer said.
“For 35 years I have eaten here almost every Friday morning. The atmosphere is friendly and the food is unique,” said Hagerstown resident Russ Chew.
Glenn Presgraves, a Hagerstown resident and former sports director for NBC affiliate WHAG said, “I have been coming here for 20 years. They serve food that you can’t get anywhere else such as spam, fried bologna,” Presgraves said. “To sum it up, eating at J&M Grill is like eating breakfast at home, the service is great and the staff are friendly.”