SHEPHERDSTOWN – On Thursday, Shepherdstown officially became home to a new restaurant at 104 East German Street, MJ’s on German Deli Cafe.
After working in the hospitality industry for about 20 years, it was clear that Melissa Vitari and Chef Jordan Gainer were passionate about serving others. But it was difficult for them to work the long hours that this kind of business demanded, while prioritizing the care of their five children. So when they saw the opportunity to open a restaurant in Shepherdstown, they decided to try their luck opening their own small business.
MJ’s on German Deli Cafe focuses on handcrafted breakfast and lunch deli sandwiches, salads, smoothies, juices and freshly brewed coffee. By partnering with several small businesses in the community, including Bolivar Bread Bakery and Black Dog Coffee, MJ’s has worked to provide high quality products to customers, while supporting local businesses. These partnerships have helped build their reputation, as they support each other.
“They’re so supportive and they really care, not only about their product, but [also] about us and how things are going for us,” Vitari said. “They call and check in. They make sure we have what we need, and they’ve just been so supportive.”
The menu isn’t the only thing that sets MJ’s apart. According to its owners, the cafe is also a great addition to Shepherdstown’s restaurant scene, due to the sense of community built within its walls and the Vitari and Gainers’ passion for what they do.
“MJ’s is unique and special because of Jordan’s passion for food,” Vitari said. “He really puts everything he’s got into every little sandwich, and you can see it [doing just that]. We have an open kitchen here and he stands there watching you waiting for your first bite.
Not only have Vitari and Gainer received support from local businesses, but they have also put together a great team to ensure they provide good customer service.
“We had the best luck finding staff. It was truly exceptional. Vitari said. “It’s like everyone is really in a positive frame of mind. They want to be part of a team effort.
The couple expressed their appreciation, not only for the support they have received from other local business owners, but also from the Shepherdstown community at large. Ideally, they would like to see their new restaurant become a gathering place for both locals and visitors.
“Thank you to everyone who comes to join us here!” said Gainer. “The Town of Shepherdstown has been so great as we get ready to operate, being patient and now understanding how difficult it is to open a restaurant. Melissa and I are continually making changes or putting in place new new procedures, so the only way to go is to climb.
MJ’s on German Deli Cafe is open every day of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Some vegan and vegetarian dishes and drinks are available.