On any given night, during any visit, chances are you’ll see JJ in the restaurant. A Renaissance Man full of creativity and flair, it was JJ’s vision 30+ years ago to open a casual, lively restaurant where everyone had fun and no one left hungry. The restaurant would serve honest, delicious food without pretense. His ultimate vision: a great burger that focused on the burger (not the extras!) and ALWAYS serve hand-cut fries from local Wisconsin potatoes. JJ’s is a place where everyone knows your name, even if you only stop in once a summer.
JJ’s Restaurant was a great success from the start (most likely because of JJ’s hardworking, very organized, wife Kris), but like all entrepreneurs, one was not enough. JJ realized there was no Mexican food in Door County, and he didn’t like it. He befriended EJ, a white-haired Texan with smiling eyes and a repertoire of Tex-Mex specialities. La Puerta was born. In Spanish, La Puerta means the door and pays homage to our favorite location in the world: Door County. EJ ground spices in the pestle & mortar in the kitchen for the rest of his 30 years living and everything on the menu has his mark.
JJ’s Restaurant and La Puerta Mexican Cantina shared not only a building, but very loyal customers. In fact, generations of families called both JJ’s & La Puerta their must-stop Door County spot. The problem was, it meant the whole family had to agree on dinner. Well, we love our customers too much to watch them argue, so in 1989 the walls came down. We tore down the wall separating the two restaurants and built one sprawling bar connecting the two dining rooms, inviting ALL to dine together. The two separate doors remain, but the rest is history.