The patio tunes are something to “taco ‘bout” at Taco JED.

Every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m., the taco joint serves up music, along with their margaritas and tasty tacos. Owner Steve Dunn says he loves music nearly as much as tacos.

“I love to have live music,” he said. “A lot of it is the appreciation that customers show coming here and following local artists.”

This Saturday, solo artist Brianna Thompson will travel to Rochester from Menomonie, Wis., to play at JED.

“It’s great to be able to expand outside of Wisconsin,” she said.

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Thompson plays covers and also performs original music. The 18-year-old has performed publicly since she was 16, but the pandemic has had an understandably negative impact on her work.

“I haven’t been able to get performances in months,” she said. “With everything going on, trying to finish high school online, getting college plans together, I’ve barely had time to practice.”

Rosei Skipper, who books musical acts at Taco JED, thinks small venues are important to help build the local music scene while bringing new talent to town.

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“Listening to music, eating, and gathering together are really important ways for humans to de-stress,” she said.

Though she acknowledges that physical proximity is currently a problem, Skipper is glad people can enjoy the live music at JED’s spread out on the patio, and hopes she’s doing her part to help the small businesses that host live music survive the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.

Theocles (contributed by the Rochester Downtown Alliance)
Theocles (contributed by the Rochester Downtown Alliance)

Friday night, Theocles will take the stage on the Taco JED patio. He says he’s excited to play his acoustic folk-pop, looped music at a place that feels safe with a spaced-out area. He describes it as having “enough tables to have an audience, but not so many that it feels crowded or unsafe.”

If you go

Check out live music on Taco JED’s patio at 808 Broadway Ave. S., Rochester, every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m.

Here’s the lineup for the rest of August:

Aug. 14: Theocles

Aug. 15: Brianna Thompson

Aug. 21: The RavensFire Band

Aug. 22: Ghoulish Few

Aug. 28: Tim Dallman

Aug. 29: Tat Erredge

Did you know?

You might be wondering why the owner of Taco JED is named Steve. That’s because J-E-D are the initials for the same name that Steve’s great-grandfather, grandfather and father all shared: Joseph Edward Dunn. Steve’s mom decided there didn’t need to be a Joseph Edward Dunn IV, so instead, he’s carried on the legacy with his restaurant’s name.

If you ask Dunn what his favorite taco is, he’s quick to tell you it’s the Picadillo Lebowski-style with the medium red sauce on it.

“In ‘The Big Leboski,’ The Dude loses a rug, and he really loved the rug because it tied the room together,” Dunn said. Similarly, putting queso on top of the taco really ties the whole thing together.