MJ’s Diner: three and a half years and still going strong

NEW CREDIT – If you’re craving a homemade, tasty, and better than the average diner meal, served in a friendly, clean environment, MJ’s Diner is the place to go.

Rhonda Johnson first wet her feet in the food industry when she started up a small catering side-business several years go while she was working mainly as an early childhood educator. From there she really wanted to open up a fully functional restaurant of her own; three and a half years ago — MJ’s Diner was born.

“We really had a hard time picking a name at first,” said Rhonda. “My husband and I were asking our friends for ideas but we just couldn’t come up with anything. I don’t remember who suggested it first, but we thought of naming the restaurant after our daughter, Marissa, and as soon as we heard it we knew it was the perfect name for the restaurant — MJ’s.”

Her daughter is 13 years old now and it’s fitting the restaurant is named after a family member because that is kind of the vibe and direction Rhonda is taking the restaurant in.

“We want our customers to be comfortable here and feel like we remember them,” she said. “We have a lot of regular, loyal customers who say they really appreciate that the staff kind of gets to know them a little bit.”

MJ’s has about 10 staff total, mainly part-timers, and has something on the menu for everyone. From traditional indigenous comfort foods to homemade burgers to a large all-day breakfast menu, it’s always homemade, and always good.

“We have traditional stuff like Indian Tacos, corn soup, and ham and scone,” she said. “I’m pretty picky about the taste of all the food we serve here and a lot of customers really like the sauce we serve on the tacos.”

Since the restaurant’s opening in 2013, the menu has had time to be perfected.

“We don’t change things up too often anymore — we try and listen to our customers when they tell us what they like and it seems like we’ve got a good thing going on,” said Rhonda.

Rhonda grew up in New Credit and said that for food spots on the territory, there aren’t a lot of options.

“It’s mainly just us and we do our best to keep our local customers here, but also love when we get visitors who stop in,” she said. “Fridays are special because my mom makes homemade pies — chocolate, coconut, lemon, banana cream — and they go along really well with out fresh baked cookies.”

Rhonda said that she’s learned a lot of the past three and a half years. She’s learned how to tailor her cooking, trust her palette and the importance of keeping a restaurant clean.

“Cleanliness is something almost all customers notice about a restaurant, and besides hearing how good our food is, a lot of customers really appreciate how clean we try and keep the place. It’s really important to us here.”

So if you’re looking for a good burger, fresh-cut fries, soup, breakfast or more — MJ’s Diner on Ojibway Rd. near Townline Rd. is definitely worth a pit stop.

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