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Couple who started their quest to visit every diner in New Jersey 9 years ago has much more to go

Since starting their food adventure in 2015, the couple has visited several New Jersey diners and the number is surprising.

Couple who started their quest to visit every diner in New Jersey 9 years ago has much more to go
Cover Image Source: YouTube | @TODAYFood

Life becomes more meaningful if we have a purpose. Our purposes in life may change with age and circumstances, whereas one thing that stays constant is that we are all moving toward something that excites us. A sense of fulfillment arrives once we attain the objective, but the journey towards it makes life worth living. This couple from New Jersey is on one such exciting journey aiming to eat at every diner in the state, as per TODAY. Their foodie adventure began in 2015 and as of last August, the duo is only halfway there.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Wendy Wei
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Wendy Wei

Jon and Karri Ricklin have an appetite for a greasy spoon and have been exploring various diners across New Jersey for the past nine years. Married for over 39 years, the couple set out on this food quest in their state because they felt that New Jersey had more diners than any other state. "We just thought that it would be cool just to drive around the state and sample and eat at every one of them. And it’s turning out to be a bigger quest than we probably originally anticipated," said Jon, who owns a dry cleaning pickup and delivery service. When asked why they picked diners and not other kinds of eateries, Karri simply said, "You gotta eat." But there was more to how this quest began.

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A post shared by Jon and Karri Ricklin (@njdinerjourney)


Giving us a little flashback, Jon explained, "We were ordering and Karri just said, 'Let me take your picture.' I was holding the menu and she just snapped a picture of me holding the menu. Half-jokingly, I said, 'It would be really cool if we could take this exact same picture at every diner in the state of New Jersey,' at that time having no idea how many there were." Despite knowing that the number of diners in the state is huge, the couple took on the challenge and had been ardently following their ritual. As per Jon's database, in total, there are 415 diners in their state and they have visited 213 of them. Isn't that amazing?

With the husband being busy with his business and the wife working as a nurse, the pair make time out of their busy schedules to follow their foodie passions. Speaking of what they love to order in most diners, Karri said that her go-to order would be salads and Jon is someone who loves variety every time. "With our schedules, it’s tough sometimes to get to breakfast, but you know, what will usually happen is she’ll order her eggs and it’ll come with sausage or bacon. She sort of slides it over to me," said Jon.

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A post shared by Jon and Karri Ricklin (@njdinerjourney)


Jon said that the most favorite part of this one-of-a-kind expedition was having a conversation with the waitresses. "They all have the personality," he said and added, "They’ll call you 'hon' like they did at one we went to last night. I go, 'We’re at a real diner.'" Though their mission began in 2015, the couple started posting about it just recently on their exclusive Instagram page, @njdinerjourney. It's pleasing to see the husband's signature pose in every post as he smiles for the camera with the diner's menu on his side. Jon jokingly said, "It's a vacation without a suitcase."


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