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Junction Diner embraces familiarity

Junction Diner owner Sherri Yackulic chats with regular customers Joe Emel, right, on re-opening day  Monday. The popular diner was closed briefly during and owner transition. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Junction Diner owner Sherri Yackulic chats with regular customers Joe Emel, right, on re-opening day Monday. The popular diner was closed briefly during and owner transition.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

POULSBO — Some simply take comfort in familiarity, while others will do anything they can to preserve it.

Enter Junction Diner and the cast of characters who call it their second home. The diner, which sits on Viking Way across from Courtesy Ford, is a place where folks congregate for the food and stay for the entertainment, owner Sherri Yackulic said on a recent Wednesday.

As she served up hot biscuits and gravy and refilled coffee mugs, she kept up with multiple conversations and treated the steady flow of regulars like family. Her connection with each person was almost psychic. She rarely took orders, but rather she made eye contact, suggested their usual and they responded with a nod of the head. The stream of patrons was constant; when someone left another was waiting to take their place before the seats even cooled.

“The former owner just gave up and let it go,” said Yackulic, who’s been nourishing hungry customers for 14 and a half years as a waitress. “It’s so busy there was no reason to close.”

The diner closed on Oct. 8. But that was just temporary. Yackulic took over the diner on Nov. 1.

The customers — many of whom had been regulars at the Junction Diner for decades — rallied around Yackulic . As is often the case when times are bad, she received many offers of time, money and moral support. These offers came through.

For seven weeks, the building was flurry of activity: the flooring and the countertop were ripped out and replaced and a fresh coat of paint covered the walls. Those regulars who occupy the barstools were swinging hammers and donating any time and talent — including assistance with the books — available to help Yackulic reopen the diner. Once the diner was reopen, some employees volunteered long enough to get the money flowing again. Now all the employees earn paychecks.

Yackulic was overwhelmed by the love and support she received in her efforts to revive the diner.

“I couldn’t have done this by myself,” she said. Their efforts, she added, were nothing short of “awesome.”

Longtime customer Ron Madler estimates he’s been going to the diner for about 19 years. Madler, the owner of Kitsap Towing, felt something was definitely missing in the diner’s downtime. He usually sat at the far barstool coveting his biscuits and gravy and reading a newspaper.

He agrees with Yackulic that the food is only one draw to the diner but it’s the familiarity and friendship that keep him going back.

“There are other places you can go to get good food,” he said. “The people are a big part of it.”

Junction Diner

20136 Viking Ave., Poulsbo

4 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday

4 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

(360) 598-2000

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