Who opens a restaurant in a pandemic?

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TJ’s Burritos owners Jeremy Jackson and Tricia Martin, along with Chef Stephan Drago are flanked by East Granby First Selectman Jim Hayden and State Rep. Tami Zawistowski at the ribbon cutting of the new restaurant. Submitted photo

All across America, restaurants are shutting their doors. Some would argue you’d have to be crazy to consider launching a food business right now. Yet that’s exactly what one Connecticut man did. But owner Jeremy Jackson says it’s about much more than food. It’s about healing.

TJ’s Burritos opened its doors on Feb. 22, at 3 Turkey Hills Road (Rte 20) in East Granby. Jackson and partner Tricia Martin have brought on Chef Stefan Drago to create a unique culinary experience. “We are committed to our craft and dedicated to our community—focusing on enlightened, authentic food and hospitality and offering hyper-local, in-the-moment cuisine,” said Jackson.

For Jackson, it’s part of a healing journey. As a recovering alcoholic, he wants to give back to the community that gave so much to him, “I wanted to create a safe space for others that is warm, welcoming, safe in the face of a pandemic and provides nourishment for the very state that provided me with a second lease on life.”

Chef Drago, a resident of Granby, has had more than 20 years of experience and had the honor of cooking for many celebrities at high-end venues. Drago says, “I couldn’t be more ecstatic now, to have the opportunity to share my passion for food and amazing cuisine that I produce with my hometown and community.”

Tricia Martin said the restaurant is going to expand with easy, family-friendly and healthy meals especially for those on the go. “We know that health, safety and convenience are just as—if not more—important than just wholesome and delicious food,” Martin said. “As a mom in the community, I know how important it is to help other families through these tough times.”

The menu offers a wide variety of burritos, salads, bowls, sandwiches and more. Visit tjsburritos.com/menu