Jax by the Tracks

Thirty years ago, this 1948-built diner made its way from Pennsylvania to California on a truck, where it found its new home in the Sierra Nevadas. We ate at Jax on the Tracks during our recent trip to Truckee, California, and the food was amazing. Not to mention, it’s dog-friendly on the patio!

Jax — which has been featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” — offers its story is on the back of its extensive menu: “In 1992, successful San Francisco restaurant entrepreneur Robert Carey decided that the Sierra Nevada town of Truckee, Calif., where he owned a second home, was ripe for a restaurant that offered great food at affordable prices.

“There just wasn’t anything available at in Truckee at that time,” Carey explains. “Then I thought, ‘let’s bring a classic American diner to Truckee.’ I always say there are no accidents and on the very same day I picked up the Wall Street Journal and read an article about a man who was saving these historic diners from the wrecking ball.”

After much research, Carey found the Birmingham Grille, a 1948 Kullman diner that was for sale outside of Philly. Eventually the diner was delivered to its new Truckee home. Carey and his son Andy took on the task of the meticulous $1.2 million restoration.

On December 6, 1995, Andy’s Truckee Diner opened its doors for business. In yet another incarnation, Bob Carey met up with Bud Haley, a Bay Area restaurant and gourmet market executive who had moved his family to Tahoe. Haley purchased the business and quickly rallied a crew of passionate culinary professionals who shared his vision.

“We care about the food, but what we really care about is the people,” Haley says. “There will always be a place for that no matter what. The diner flourished during the Depression and we plan to see JAX flourish now — I believe classic Americana will never go out of style.”

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