In addition to being head chef at TJ’s Family Fun Center and Restaurant, Jennafer Deidrich has now been promoted to general manager of the business. Deidrich grew up in Lakeview and is the former owner the Polar Bear. She has now been at TJ’s for a year and two months.
Deidrich is a graduate of the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. She earned her culinary degree in 2011. She had not always planned on making a career in the food industry. After she graduated high school, she noted, her career aspirations were set on architecture.
After getting about two years into earning her general education credits in college, Deidrich said she was watching the stock market and seeing declines and decided architecture might not be the path for her.
Deidrich said she had always had a love for food. That combined with being inspired by celebrity bakers Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman made her realize, “I want to do that.”
While she has yet to make a cake like Valastro or Goldman, she has found her niche as a chef. She took a little bit of time off after leaving Polar Bear and before TJ’s but said, “I’m the kind of person who has to work.”
When Deidrich received the news in August that she was being promoted to general manager, she said it did not surprise her. “I know all of that stuff. I know what to do and what not to do,” she described.
She noted that dealing with the changes that have been brought on by COVID has been a challenge. TJ’s was closed for a month earlier this year due regulations put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
Since the pandemic hit, Deidrich said, there isn’t really a “typical day” for her. Every day can bring something different, but she has worked to adapt.
She also prides herself on listening to customers to get feedback on what they like and may not like when they come to TJ’s so that she can understand how the business can improve. “I’ll sit down and talk to people,” she said. “If I hear a negative comment, I ask myself what I can do to make it better.”
Deidrich is currently working on reformatting the restaurant’s menu and on getting everything at the business organized in order to make operations easier for herself and the rest of the staff.
The upcoming bowling season – which starts Tuesday, Sept. 22 – will be the trial run, Deidrich said. While summer is the busiest time of year for many restaurants, she noted, bowling season is when things heat up at TJ’s.
Deidrich said her favorite part of her job is interacting with people and putting out good food for customers to enjoy.
The bowling season at TJ’s will began Tuesday, Sept. 22 with a co-ed day. There is still time to sign up to bowl this season.
Daily specials will also begin when the season starts. TJ’s is located at 1217 N. 4th St. in Lakeview and is currently open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Starting Sept. 22, TJ’s hours will expand to be 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays, and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday to accomodate the bowling schedule. Call 541-947-4200 for more information about TJ’s or about the 2020 local bowling season.