Fajita’s opens in former BJ’s location

Flandreau’s newest Mexican restaurant has opened in the former BJ’s Fine Food and Spirits location.

Fajita’s Bar & Grill on Wind Street offers lunch, dinner, full bar services, off-sale liquor sales and a drive-thru for food and off-sale pickups. In addition, the new establishment will allow guests to rent the dining area for private parties, said manager Jessica Rubenstein. She and her mother, Nitza Rubenstein, will run the business, while German Hernandez, also an owner, will split his time between Flandreau and a business he owns in Atlanta.

“Every little bit just came together, and it’s ours. It’s beautiful,” said Jessica Rubenstein. At 22, it is her first business. Over two months of work, the owners and three staff scrubbed and updated the dining room and bar areas before opening last week, she said. “Every inch of this place is spotless.”

Many of the dishes at the restaurant are from family and traditional recipes, including two desserts that cook Hazen Cavender makes based on his grandmother’s recipes. After growing up in Texas, he has returned to Flandreau where he is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Tribe.

In addition to the namesake fajitas, the restaurant serves appetizers, burritos, enchiladas, shrimp dishes, street tacos, salads, soups and more. Cavender makes the salsa fresh daily. The restaurant also has a $5.50 a plate children’s menu that includes chicken strips and other items, along with a drink.

Rubenstein hopes a dish called carne asada fries, popular in Arizona, also becomes a local favorite. Carne asada fries is a bed of fries with steak on top, all smothered in nacho toppings.

As the restaurant manager, she said her job is to take care of customers and help employees do their jobs. So far, she and the three employees, which includes two bar tenders, are a good team, she said. “I’m always running around. I want to help them in any way I can.”

Inside the restaurant, the décor has been updated to include touches of the Southwest, including curtains her mother sewed from Mexican blanket material.

The Rubensteins moved to Flandreau more than three months ago and have been working on the restaurant the last two months. In the process, they have enjoyed the community and its friendliness, Jessica Rubenstein said.

“I love the small town,” she said. “Everyone has been so nice and supportive.”

Fajita’s hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the dining room and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays in the dining room and bar. The bar is open additional hours until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Rubenstein suggests calling ahead for a drive-thru food order at 997-5223.

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