“Hog Heaven”: Jiggy Ray’s Bike Nights stay busy through summer
Published 9:12 am Tuesday, June 28, 2016
In an approach to continue driving foot traffic through downtown Elizabethton, Jiggy Ray’s Pizzeria continues to produce the events.
A partnership between the restaurant, Yee-Haw Brewing Company of Johnson City and Smith Brothers Harley-Davidson, brought to life Bike Nights on East Elk Avenue and the results have surpassed expectations, according to John “Bull” Malone, co-owner of Jiggy Ray’s.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with how popular the event has become,” he said. “We’re working with Yee-Haw Brewing and Smith Brothers and it was great to have two big names like that be part of this.”
Bike Nights has taken place each Monday night through the spring and summer, lasting from 6 to 9 p.m.
The ability to provide these types of events stems from the support from the community, including Elizabethton officials.
During a City Council meeting held in May, a request by the restaurant was approve the closure of the last block of East Elk Avenue and grant the usage of the Bicentennial alleyway.
“The city has been great in showing support for the event,” Malone said. “Before we even went to the Council, we asked the other downtown stores on that block if would be a problem and the majority said it was fine. Most of stores close by 5 or 5:30 p.m.”
Bikes flow in through all over the Tri-Cities, Malone said. This past Monday saw a decrease due to weather but on any given Monday night, Malone estimates over 170 bikers set up through downtown. Once each night finishes, Malone added that the staff of the restaurant will take to the streets and walkways for any necessary cleanup.
“These are some of the nicest people you could meet,” he said of the bikers. “And they aren’t just coming by Jiggy Ray’s. They’re walking downtown, seeing all the stores, the Covered Bridge … and they’re coming from places like Greeneville, Kingsport and Bristol to see what downtown Elizabethton has to offer. It’s great for us as a restaurant and for us having a chance to see all the different bikes but this is something that also shows what the other businesses have to offer.”
Showcasing what Elizabethton has to offer comes natural for Malone and John Seehorn, who also owns the restaurant. Since setting up shop downtown, the duo have continued to add various events through the year.
“We said it when we first moved in, we have the most beautiful downtown here in Elizabethton,” Malone said. “We’ve just about seen them all. Elizabethton doesn’t compare to what other towns have to offer. Events like Bike Nights and the car show shows what downtown has to offer. Then you have places like the Coffee Company, Tweetsie Treats and J’s Corner that continue to bring people in … it’s just a great thing that’s going on in Elizabethton.”
The restaurant isn’t stopping with plans for the future, either.
A popular addition to the summer calendar is musical performances inside the restaurant, where music goes six nights a week. Along with the normal music nights, Jiggy Ray’s is also gearing up for Jiggypalooza on July 23.
For more information on Bike Nights or upcoming events, visit the Jiggy Ray’s Downtown Pizzeria Facebook page online.