For the past several years, a small nondescript building along North Dixie Highway in Roseland has been home to several local restaurants, including Mikado Japanese, 2 Amigos Mexican Grill and, most recently, Tacos Jacinto.
But Jesus Montano Jr. is confident his family business can break whatever curse seems to have befallen on the space.
“We’re doing it more our way,” Montano said. “… It helps that we kept our name and everything because we brought a lot of people over from the other location.”
Restaurant Manjares de Mexico, which Montano owns with his parents and siblings, has opened in its new location at 402 N. Dixie Highway after leaving its longtime location in Town and Country Shopping Centre in Mishawaka.
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Decision to relocate restaurant
Initially, the family-owned restaurant opened as Mishawaka Grill at the Miracle Lane space located near Mega Play and World Gym and served an American-style breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Then, in 2019, the Montanos transformed the concept into an authentic Mexican restaurant with a new name, menu and decor with large, colorful wall murals of Mexican figures Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Pancho Villa painted inside the long window-sparse space.
“These characters right here are very special to us because we grew up in the Hispanic community,” said Stephania Montano, a server and one of Montano’s five siblings, in 2019. “We wanted to make it a very authentic mural.”
But after seven years, owners wanted a change of pace and to be in a more prominent area with heavy traffic. Since last October, the family kept operations going at the Town and Country location while renovating and cleaning their Dixie Highway space. Once the construction was complete, owners left the murals behind and reopened Manjares de Mexico in Roseland on March 11.
“It was tough (to leave the murals) because it was kind of like, on the walls, there was some sort of texture on it that you couldn’t completely peel off,” Montano said. “They were already on there for so long.”
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One mural on canvas of Guadalupe Reyna de Mexico made the trek to the new location and Montano said they have plans to incorporate some of that artwork in the new space eventually. However, unlike the former space, the new building has windows surrounding the dining room, with not much space left over for detailed artwork like before. Colorful tables and chairs fill the full-service dining room and a scaled down menu with such popular items as tacos, burritos and shrimp cocktails available with American-style breakfast served on the weekends. Montano said they had to scale down the menu to be cost effective and had to forgo a liquor license because it was not available for the new location, but, overall, he believes the space feels better than before.
“I like this place a lot more,” Montano said. “Over there, it was kind of a long back and then just the windows in the front but there’s really no cars or anything. I was here for our first two days open, and … it felt a lot better.”
The new building also has a drive-thru window, with Montano saying they need to replace communication devices for it, but are currently working with what they have and offering the service for the time being.
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“It feels great (to be open),” Montano said. “We’re definitely happy with the outcome.”
Manjares de Mexico is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Contact Mary Shown at 574-235-6244 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @maryshownSBT and @marketbasketSBT.
This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Food news: Mexican restaurant moves from Mishawaka to Roseland