OCEAN CITY — After 37 years serving Ocean City, first at the Potato Shack and then J/R’s, Jack Hubberman, the founder and owner, has officially retired.
In 1977, Hubberman and his late wife Jackie came to Ocean City and opened The Potato Shack on 3rd Street and the Boardwalk. The Potato Shack wasn’t just a French fry stand, it was a one-of-a-kind establishment that served a uniquely prepared baked potato cooked in rosin.
“I remember seeing the machine and telling Jackie this is going to knock people’s socks off,” Hubberman said.
When The Potato Shack opened, Jackie would work the day shift from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Hubberman would work the evenings often until 2 a.m. to cater to the growing crowds.
The couple continued their culinary explorations and set out to open a full service, specialty restaurant featuring baby back barbequed ribs. They did their research and traveled to Texas, Florida and Virginia to learn about cuts of meat, cooking techniques and to gather the secret ingredients that became their signature barbecue sauce. They opened J/R’s, The Place For Ribs in the summer of 1980 at 62nd Street and Coastal Highway. Due to its popularity, JR’s opened a second location at 131st Street.
Over the decades, J/R’s served millions of Ocean City residents and visitors.
“When I think about the volume of ribs, chicken and onion loaf, that went from kitchen to tables, it makes me dizzy,” Hubberman said.
While it’s never an easy decision to retire, at 86, Hubberman is ready to spend as much time as he can with friends and family. His years as a member of Ocean City’s hospitality industry and as a part of the community have provided him with a life he never imagined. For him, the hardest part is leaving all the people he worked with, some of whom he employed for more than 30 years. Not to mention, the guests who became part of his extended family.
“Over the years, we were part of so many people’s summer memories. You would come to know people’s birthdays, anniversaries, their kids, grandkids … What a blessing,” he said.
In 2014, Jack decided to downsize and closed his north Ocean City location. J/R’s flagship location at 62nd Street closed officially on Nov. 1 of this year.