Jovanna Rodriguez (right), owner of Jovi’s Diner, 123 N. E St., San Bernardino. At left is her aunt and co-worker, Mirasol Gonzalez.
Go about 500 feet north of the future San Bernardino Transit Center and you’ll find a new diner, filled with the smell of American and Mexican food and the sounds of classic rock and roll.
You’re also quite likely to find Jovanna Rodriguez, the young owner of Jovi’s Diner, working the tables, taking orders and building relationships with her new customers.
“I grew up in San Bernardino but whenever I want to go out to eat, I find myself traveling to Redlands, Rialto or Fontana,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to do something good, something different, because I’m proud to call this city home.”
With the help of her father, Raul Rodriguez, a contractor specializing in restaurant remodeling, and the advice of her mother, the former owner of Baseline Burgers Coffee Shop, Jovi took a chance on the former Burger Express location at 123 N. E St., next door to the car wash on the northeast corner of E Street and Rialto Avenue. They reupholstered the booths with images of classic cars, put in a black-and-white checkered-flag tile floor and created a diner ambiance, complete with swivel-stool counter and ‘60s and ‘70s music to emulate the environment of the Route 66 heyday of San Bernardino’s past.
As for being on the historic thoroughfare, which is rapidly transforming into a transit corridor, the Rodriguezes are excited. “I see the sbX line greatly benefitting my business,” she said. “People will be able to move easier, safer, faster; it will provide quick connections to other parts of the valley; and it helps the environment because the buses will run on clean fuel, which reduces pollution.”
Jovi’s Diner is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
– David Rutherford
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