We can call it “JJ’s 3.0.” It’s the third iteration and it improves with every edition.

What started as Club la Pesca de Cholla some seven decades ago, became JJ’s Cantina on June 4th, 1984. Great improvements were made by new owners Joe Anacleto and John Fowler (the JJs), and the bar soon became an icon in Rocky Point, boasting “If you haven’t been to JJ’s, you haven’t been to Rocky Point,” and adapting the “No Sniveling” slogan.

The cantina thrived but the lure of retirement prompted Anacleto to pass the baton and on January 6th of 2022, new owners, the team from Wrecked at the Reef, began six months of extensive renovation. What emerged was JJ’s 2.0, a beautiful and very popular cantina where there was “Still No Sniveling.”

But lingering in the wings was the dream Roger Clyne had to make this “Third World Cantina” his true “second home.” Along with five partners, a deal was struck and on January 6th, 2024 and JJ’s became the sister cantina to Bandito’s.

Restaurant manager Waylon Dillon said, “We had wanted to have a bar on the water but more than that, it’s JJ’s legacy, its history and we pay homage to that. We want to keep that history growing strong. This is a long-term venture. We want to build something special and earn people’s business.”

Greg Ross, who has been managing Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers in Mexico since 2009 and the band’s events for the last five years, emphasized that he wants to bring back the heartbeat that JJ’s was in Cholla in the ‘80s and ’90, and welcome all of Peñasco. He said, “Roger has been playing here since the early 2000s and music will stay a big part of JJ’s.”

As with any new ownership, there will be changes. Dillon said, “Randy and Kelly did a fantastic job on the remodel;” and Ross added, “We definitely give a tip of the sombrero to them for what they added and what they left.”

Some changes to the menu were made the first week and new items will be added in time. “A big focus with the menu will be to highlight local products,” Dillon said. “Rocky Pan will be providing six different styles of bread for the restaurant and we’re talking with other businesses about bringing their goods and services.”

Ross added, “Mexico gives so much to us Americans. We show them our dream and they rise to the challenge. It’s good for us to say thanks to them for putting up with us!”

The partners also have plans for enhancing the Bandito’s Cantina. “We are building the new structure there. It will be called ‘The Mission” and look like an old Spanish Mission. It was designed to secure spots for VIP ticket holders for concerts and will include extra facilities (baños).”

Dillon added, “We want to do curated dinners with wine or tequila parings. That’s really only available one other place and it’s an experience people enjoy.”

“Every partner either owns property in Rocky Point or is working toward that,” Ross said. “We are going forward as a locals-owned bar. The more we are ingrained into the community, the better product we will be able to offer.”

Forty years ago, John and Joe opened the first foreign-owned bar in Sonora. Today, with a magnificent facelift, that same cantina is now in the capable hands of (in alphabetical order) Roger Clyne, Waylon Dillon, Chad Jaehnig, Greg Ross, Tom Sentry and Curt Weitnauer. Each brings a special skill to what promises to be a lasting iteration of JJ’s Cantina.

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Cutlines for three photos:

The original Club la Pesca de la Cholla, which would become JJ’s Cantina.

JJ’s Cantina today after extensive renovation.

Patrons pose on Day One as JJ’s Cantina opens under ownership by the Bandito’s Cantina partnership.