The Jolly Kone is Bridgeport is changing hands, the first time in nearly a century it won’t be run by a Bryant, one of the founding families of the Mono County community.
Lynda Pemberton took the place over from her mother Erma Bryant in 1964. Pemberton’s great-grandfather, Amasa Bryant, had his first store on Court Street at the same location the Jolly Kone stands now in 1863. It was open until a fire destroyed the store in 1963. By 1964 a new building was constructed and the Jolly Kone was born.
Pemberton has been running the seasonal restaurant for 32 years.
The Jolly Kone is known for the dipped ice cream cones and fat burgers, but locally, she’s known as the glue that keeps the town together; spearheading local fundraisers and always looking for a way to help out. Pemberton has been called the unofficial Mayor of Bridgeport.
But what she’s best known for are her summer employees – local kids, some as young as 12 years old. In a place where it can be hard for anyone to find a job, she offers employment to the youngest and most ambitious.
On Tuesday afternoon, two 12-year old boys, Eric and Irvin, were getting off shift, walking out the back door of the Jolly Kone and headed to the recycling bin. Their hands were holding onto cardboard boxes, not clutching cell phones.
Eric told The Sheet he’s learning how to make change without a calculator, learning responsibility like showing up on time and how to talk to adults, “Getting rid of the shyness.”