El Barrio Mexican Grill to hire 45 workers for opening on Michigan Street in February

A new family-friendly Tex-Mex restaurant is looking to hire 45 workers before it opens in mid-February inside the Midtowne Village complex  along the ever-growing Medical Mile in Grand Rapids.

Recruitment is underway to hire 30 fulltime and 15 parttime workers for El Barrio (Spanish for "the neighborhood") Mexican Grill at 545 Michigan St. NE, says Jeff Lobdell, whose Grand Rapids-based Restaurant Partners, Inc. at 2800 S. Division Ave. will operate the eatery in addition to 15 other restaurants it owns or manages in Michigan.

This new restaurant is owned by Brad Rosely and David Levitt whose Third Coast Development Partners LLC of Grand Rapids crafted the Midtowne Village development.  They recently won approval to serve alcoholic beverages in El Barrio Mexican Grill from the Grand Rapids City Commission.

"There will be 45 new jobs although five to 10 might be filled (by others) from existing (Restaurant Partners) restaurants and those positions will then have to filled," Lobdell says. The food will be similar to Lobdell's popular Beltline Bar, 16 28th St. SE of the World Famous Wet Burrito fame, but it will also offer some of its own unique entities, such as fresh fish tacos and gourmet salads he says.

"I'm just excited to be part of all of the excitement on Michigan Street right now," says Lobdell, a Traverse City native whose family of restaurants will now include four restaurants on Michigan St, including El Barrio's next-door neighbor in the Midtown Village, the Omelette Shoppe & Bakery. The other two are Bagel Beanery and the Recovery Room Café  in Grand Valley State University's Cook-DeVos Center for Health Services building.

Though some restaurants in Michigan are struggling, Lobdell says he's focused on offering a good value, with tasty meals priced on average of under $10, and served in a sit-down friendly atmosphere.

Open for lunch and dinner, the 4,500-square-feet El Barrio will have the capacity to seat 165. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

A banquet room in El Barrio will be available to handle 40 more diners at special gatherings, including breakfast serviced by the Omelette Shoppe that's next door.  It will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Job seekers for the El Barrio openings can apply in person at the Omelette Shop, 545 Michigan St. NE or at another Restaurant Partners' dining spot, Forest Hills Inn, 4609 Cascade Rd. SE.

Sources: Jeff Lobdell, Restaurant Partners, Inc. of Grand Rapids

Sharon Hanks is editor of innovation and jobs news for Rapid Growth Media.  She can be reached at [email protected].

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