Don Jose marks 40 years

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The one in Montclair opened in 1979, but Southern California’s Don Jose Mexican Restaurant chain (its website is here) is marking its 40th anniversary, its Orange location having opened in 1972.

I’ve only eaten there once or twice, but I enjoyed the experience. It was the first time I ever ordered fajitas.

Montclair reader Anna Hernandez alerted me after the fact to the anniversary, which featured a one-day rollback in price one recent weekend.

“I enjoyed dinner for $2, plus margaritas! As did many, probably hundreds, more,” Hernandez, a regular, told me by email. She lauded the professional staff, tasty food, fun atmosphere and an operation that ran smoothly despite the crush of customers.

She said apologetically: “If you missed it, sorry I didn’t alert you sooner.”

That’s OK, Anna. I probably wouldn’t have wanted a delicious meal from a friendly staff for $2 anyway.

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  • Anna should have alerted me! 🙂 We love the place.

  • Will Plunkett

    I was there that day, and got there for “early” dinner, manybe just before 5pm. By the time I left, there were mobs of people around the entrance, plus a full waiting room. I spent less than $10 for two, and was full.

    Don Jose always gets my vote for Best Mexican Restaurant in the annual Best of the Inland Valley awards.

    [Nice. Thanks for supplying the second on-the-spot report from that day, Will. — DA]

  • shirley wofford

    When I was still working, DJ was the place of many retirement parties and birthday luncheons. I remember one birthday luncheon when a colleague who had ordered Albondigas Soup was puzzled, because the bowl contained only broth. When she inquired, the server explained that the restaurant had run out of meatballs. She had her lunch, gratis, such as it was.

    Bring back Disco!! When DJ opened in Montclair, it had a Disco lounge–the DJ was spinning, and the dance floor was packed. It was fun to watch. We need it again, in these sober times.

    [A disco lounge! That’s great. Thanks for sharing, Shirley. — DA]

  • Andy

    This is a place I’ve passed by many a time and have been afraid to enter due to the lack of windows. Are there patrons inside? Is it dark and dingy? Are there gangs and thugs inside? But if there is albondigas, it might be worth checking out.

    BTW, DA.. ever since I read your piece about Long Schlong Silvers.. I’ve taken a keen eye to them. I’m out in Missouri for a few days and it seems to be no shortage of them here. They are in the new yellow and blue signage similar to the one in Victorville (or is it Barstow?). I really wish I had an issue of DB to take the pic in front of the restaurant.

    [That would’ve been a unique Daily Bulletin on Vacation photo: “Andy poses in front of a random Long John Silver’s in Upper Horsefly, Mo.” We have had people hold out their phone with the DB app loaded, or an iPad with same, in lieu of a print edition. If you’re using the same device to take the photo, though, I guess you’re out of luck. — DA]

  • Rose Davidson Linck

    I used to go there. Did they have karaoke at one time? I remember the disco. It was a fun place.

  • Andy

    since I wrote this piece, I’ve seen a few more. I drove over to Atchinson Kansas (Atchinson, Topeka and Sate Fe Railroad) and saw one despite a population of only 11k. In total, I think I’ve spotted about 4 or 5 of them, but this still doesn’t compare to the small depression era town/city of St. Joseph where I stayed, this place had 5 Sonics despite a population of only 74k. It did have 2 long jong silvers.