Jerry’s Place closing in Deerfield after 26-plus years

  • Pat and Jerry Dagrosa work around each other, just like they have for more than 26 years at Jerry’s Place in South Deerfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—

  • Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ.

  • Jerry and Pat Dagrosa are turning off the grill one last time this on Oct. 14 at Jerry’s Place in South Deerfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Jerry Dagrosa is hanging up his spatula after 26½ years running Jerry’s Place with his wife Pat in South Deerfield. Staff/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 9/19/2018 9:50:33 PM

DEERFIELD — In the dining room at Jerry’s Place, on the wall above a table-for-two tucked away past the two counters, hangs a picture frame containing an old Greenfield Recorder article.

Written in 1992, the story details the anticipated April 1 opening of the restaurant run by Jerry and Pat Dagrosa, who are mentioned as living about a mile away with their children, ages 2 and 5. Standing next to that newspaper clipping, which rests above a photograph of Jerry and daughter Lauren with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Jerry says the tale has come full circle 26½  years later, as Lauren, the 2-year-old child when that article was published, got married last month and will work weekends at Jerry’s Place until the breakfast and lunch spot her parents run closes its doors on Oct. 14.

Pat Dagrosa announced the bittersweet news, saying the lights will soon go dark on the corner of Main and Elm streets because “all good things must come to an end.” The Dagrosas, who have been married 33 years, say they made the decision Monday. A Facebook post about their decision was followed by dozens of comments expressing a mix of sadness about the closure and happiness for the hard-working couple that kept the operation going for so long.

In that 1992 Recorder article, Jerry Dagrosa said it was his lifelong dream to own a restaurant. Now 63, he says that dream came true in spades thanks to financing from his father-in-law, who died a year ago. But now it’s time to move on.

“Through a chain of events, all through my father-in-law, really, the journey is complete, so now we have to start another journey,” Jerry Dagrosa said Wednesday.

He says he has no idea what the future holds, but he and his wife are looking forward to having some free time and making it to social engagements.

“We want the freedom to go places,” he says. “She’s been tied to here and I’ve been tied to here, so now it’s just time.”

Don Mailloux says he has been a customer for most of those 26½ years, and he will miss the mom and pop business.

“It’s going to be sad,” he said after finishing a sandwich around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. “But I’ve still got another month.”

The 1,200-square-foot establishment, which seats 40, has a storied history. Before Jerry’s Place, the spot was an auto parts store. In December 2014, a woman said to be driving drunk crashed through the front window early one morning while Jerry Dagrosa was serving breakfast to two patrons. At the time, he recalled how the driver immediately tried to back out of the restaurant, squealing the vehicle’s tires and leaving skid marks on the tile floor. In 2016, the place closed for a few months while Jerry Dagrosa battled illness. In that hiatus, he received about 100 cards from friends and customers.

“Health-wise, I’m feeling really good,” he said on Wednesday.

He and Pat Dagrosa, 65, say the restaurant’s best-sellers have been burgers (with fresh beef from Millstone Farm Market in Sunderland), eggs and pancakes. The Dagrosas say their hearts are heavy after announcing their plans, and they will likely get heavier in the next few weeks as they say goodbye to their loyal customers. “We’ve had a good life here,” Pat Dagrosa said. “There’s no question.”

Reach Domenic Poli at dpoli@recorder.com or 413-773-0261, ext. 262.




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