Iva Reynhaut is pretty excited to be cooking downtown once again.
The owner and cook at Jigger’s Diner, 145 Main St., couldn’t wait to share the news after the Town Council voted Monday night to put her back in business.
Reynhaut will be back behind the counter and grill at the historic, award-winning eatery after the council unanimously approved her request for the victualling license she lost when the state Division of Taxation shut her business down on Aug. 17 for nonpayment of state taxes.
Thanks to an agreement with state officials to settle her approximately $30,000 in debt, Jigger’s will reopen at 6 tomorrow morning.
“It’s my Christmas present,” Reynhaut told reporters between shouting her greetings to a former employee driving past on Main Street and accepting the well wishes of passers-by moments after the council restored her license.
When asked where she came up with the money to start repaying the state, she would only say, “Kind, generous people.”
The diner will reopen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, serving breakfast from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“I have to keep all my costs down, so I will go breakfast only,” said Reynhaut, adding she hoped to open additional hours eventually.
As a condition for receiving the license, she presented a certificate from the Department of Taxation that a financial agreement is in place for settlement of her state tax arrearage. Her local property taxes remained up to date, Town Manager William Sequino Jr. said at the time of the diner’s closing.
Reynhaut said she worked out a settlement with Paul Guertin from the taxation office. “He was reasonable to work with,” she said.
Council President Michael B, Isaacs will be happy to see Jigger’s reopen, too.
“We’re all glad she was able to resolve her tax issues with the state. It’s good for Main Street, and it’s good for the town,” he said.
Reynhaut said the diner, listed with Marilyn Kiesel of RE/MAX’s East Greenwich office at $379,350 after its August closing, remains on the market, although she is not actively pursuing a sale.
Jigger’s, whose origins date back to a restaurant opened by Vilgot “Jigger” Lindberg in 1917, has received numerous Rhode Island Monthly awards since Carol Shriner reopened the 36-seat 1947 Worcester Lunch Car to feed the locals in 1992. It has been honored for Best Pancakes, Best Diner Dinner, Best West Bay Diner, Best Breakfast Place and Best West Bay Breakfast.
Reynhaut bought the diner in 2000, and served as cook and manager until Aug. 17, when state tax officials and Police Chief Thomas C. Coyle ordered it closed in the middle of a business day.
Four months to the day later, breakfast will finally be served again.
“I’m sure I’ll have some happy customers,” Reynhaut said.