Longtime Jo Daviess County tavern owners to retire, close or sell business

J.M.’s Tap

Location: 7625 N. Menominee Road, Menominee, Ill.

Hours: Opens at 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday. Opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Phone: 815-747-7730.

Online: facebook.com/myJMs

MENOMINEE, Ill. — After four decades, the longtime owners of an area tavern will close their chapter on the business this spring.

J.M.’s Tap will mark 40 years in the Menominee community in May, which is also when owners Jerry and Karen Meyer will retire. The couple plan to close the tavern May 1, though the two also hope to sell the business.

“It’s just time,” Jerry said. “We have no regrets, but 40 years is a long time.”

What would become J.M.’s Tap initially opened in September 1948 as Runde’s Tap and Grocery, which was run by Karen’s parents, Dick and Eloyse Runde. Karen’s family lived above the business, which became a bar only in 1969.

“There were nine of us (siblings), and all of us worked there starting when we were about 12,” she said. “(My parents) worked hard, but they had fun. This has always been a family place.”

The building sustained heavy smoke and water damage in a fire in 1979. The tavern closed until 1983, when Jerry and Karen reopened it as J.M.’s Tap.

Three years after taking over, the Meyers added food to the tavern’s menu. Karen said their pizzas, especially the BLT pizza, became well-known, and the business also hosts popular Friday fish fries.

The Meyers raised their four children above the bar, as well. All of their children, as well as other family members, worked at the tavern over the years.

“They were always in a big hurry to clean up at the end of the night so they could sit down here and play euchre,” Jerry said.

Jerry and Karen’s daughter Emily Domeyer said she and her siblings used to fall asleep listening to the sound of the jukebox downstairs.

“We’d laugh that when we went to college, we’d have no problem falling asleep since we were used to hearing people partying at night,” she said.

The business also hosted various events to bring people to the bar over the years, including euchre tournaments, Jerry said. The couple also started an annual rabbit hunt, which Jerry said draws 170 hunters who pack the bar.

“It’s our biggest day of the year,” he said. “People love that. You’ve got to come up with unique ideas to bring people in. This is a destination place.”

The Meyers also have focused on supporting their community. Domeyer said her parents sponsored “countless” youth sports teams and frequently donated money to booster clubs.

“I’ll never forget one time a family came in with two sons with cancer,” she said. “We made them a pizza, and my dad threw a $100 bill in the pizza box to help them out with their expenses. They were always willing to help, always willing to put an arm out for everybody.”

Jerry and Karen stressed their appreciation for everyone who has supported J.M.’s Tap over the years, especially during the 101 days the tavern only offered carryout due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve made so many friends over the years,” Jerry said. “I wish I wrote a book or took notes. We’ve met so many interesting people.”

The Meyers’ son Adam Meyer wrote in an email that he and his siblings admire their parents’ dedication to the community over the years.

“Their decision to close after a successful 40 years is the right decision, and we are very proud of them,” he wrote. “But naturally, this will provide a gaping hole in the hearts of the people of Menominee and the surrounding area.”