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Owner Miguel Barboza talks about the opening of his new Mexican-themed restaurant, Señor Patron, on First Street in Bemidji. The restaurant officially opened Monday and a grand opening celebration is planned for Nov. 15. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

New Mexican-themed restaurant opens on First Street in building that most recently held Blue Ox Bar and Grill and Depot on 1st

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BEMIDJI — Señor Patron aims to succeed where others have not.

The new Mexican-themed restaurant officially opened Monday in the same building on First Street in Bemidji that in the past year was home to the Blue Ox Bar and Grill and then the Depot on 1st restaurant/bar.

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However, owner Miguel Barboza said he wants to change that pattern by returning the location to the sort of family atmosphere it had when it was Union Station/1st City Brewery and Grill.

"I want people from Bemidji to know that Bemidji has a place to eat in a family kind of environment," he said Monday.

Barboza originally hails from Jalisco, Mexico, but met his wife and raised his family in Minnesota. He said they’re in the process of moving from Austin, Minn., to Bemidji.

"I love this town," he said. "I want to help the community."

In addition to Señor Patron, Barboza owns three other Mexican-themed restaurants that share the name "El Potro," or The Colt. The three "Potros" are in Hibbing, Grand Rapids and Thief River Falls. Barboza said he has initially brought in staff for Señor Patron from the other restaurants but plans to eventually hire local workers, too.

Barboza was grateful to the Bemidji community for allowing him the chance to do business here.

"I will try my best to please everybody," he said.

A grand opening is planned for Nov. 15, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Barboza said he’s working on getting a mariachi band to come up from the Twin Cities for the event.

"I’m pulling the ropes really hard because I really want that to happen," he said.

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