Michelle and Jordan Dodson prepare for the opening of their new restaurant at 328 Naugle Ave. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

Michelle and Jordan Dodson are opening their restaurant in Patagonia on Dec. 1. They have signed the lease on the property located at 328 Naugle Avenue (Highway 82), and plan to own the building soon. “It’s been a dream of ours to own a restaurant for at least five years,” Michelle said. “When we saw the ‘for sale’ sign, Jordan and I talked about the prime location, the opportunity of having such an amazing place, and we jumped on it!” They thought the restaurant should belong to someone local.

Though they bought a house outside Patagonia three and half years ago, they both feel Patagonia is home. Michelle moved to Patagonia while in high school, and Jordan was born and raised here.

Many people in the area recall Michelle serving them in the Gathering Grounds, where she had worked for six and half years. Customers appreciated for her efficiency, lively manner and quick sense of humor. Sometimes a person with a consistent order, stopping to greet
someone outside, would find it ready when stepping inside!

Michelle has been employed in restaurant work for 16 years. She describes herself as “front of the house” waiting tables, working as barista and doing whatever needs to be done. They have hired a cook, and Jordan will be “meeter and greeter,” doing kitchen prep
work and other tasks on his days off, since he has a full-time job as an underground heavy equipment operator.

MJ’s menu offers a variety of both Mexican and American dishes, including specialty burgers, daily specials, homemade soups, salads, side dishes, finger foods, and small portions. They plan to expand the menu to accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and other diets. As of now they can sometimes offer options, such as lentil and vegetable soups, and
sandwich substitutions. They suggest stopping by to look at the daily specials listed outside the restaurant. Also, beer, wine, and a small assortment of mixed drinks will be available.

Michelle and Jordan are grateful for the help from family in getting the restaurant ready. Besides the room inside, there is a covered patio outside where customers will be served. They are featuring art by Rhonda Brew and pottery by Martha Kelly.

MJ’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Sunday brunches. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.