“Welcome to Moe’s!” will soon be heard throughout St. Joseph, Michigan, when Moe’s Southwest Grill opens at 3260 Niles Rd. on Thursday, August 16.

The new restaurant marks the first of 25 new locations that local restaurateur Joyce Lunsford, owner of Trigo Hospitality, will open throughout the Midwest. Moe’s Southwest Grill serves fresh made-to-order burritos and Southwestern fare in a fun and laidback environment.

All meals, including signature items like the Homewrecker burrito, Close Talker salad, and John Coctostan quesadilla, are served with free chips and unlimited salsa from Moe’s fresh salsa bar.

While Moe’s Southwest Grill is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh ingredients, the menu also features kids’, vegetarian, and low-calorie options.

At the same time, the menu boasts a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan offerings, many of which feature organic tofu. Moe's also offers all-natural, cage-free chicken; grain-fed steroid-free pulled pork (both with no hormones added); and 100 percent grass-fed steak.

After eating at a Moe’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lunsford and her team at Trigo Hospitality enjoyed the food so much that they wanted to be the first to bring Moe’s to St. Joe.

In January 2012, Lunsford signed an agreement that will bring 25 new restaurants—and hundreds of jobs—to Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio by 2020. She will operate the restaurants with business partner and local resident Greg Molter.

As part of the development agreement, new Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants will also open throughout Michigan in Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Holland, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Midland, Mt. Pleasant, Saginaw, and Big Rapids.

Trigo Hospitality currently operates 32 Pizza Hut locations in Southwest Michigan and five Sonic Drive-In restaurants. Her franchise group recently sold the 22 Panera Bread restaurants it operated in Michigan and Ohio.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Moe's Southwest Grill