MAHOPAC N.Y. - Mahopac is mourning the loss of a beloved restaurateur and exemplary businesswoman after the passing of Jan Jimenez, co-owner of Ramiro’s, one of the town’s most popular restaurants, which closed earlier this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jimenez died Tuesday, Sept. 15, after a long battle with an undisclosed illness. She was 56.
Jimenez was born and raised in Caroll, Iowa and came to New York State when she was 22, seeking a job as a nanny. She found that job—and some lifelong friends—when she was hired by the Rosow family in Edgemont.
“I was looking for a nanny and I hired Jan 33 years ago,” said Traci Medford-Rosow, an attorney and novelist, who eventually became Jimenez’s partner in the restaurant business. “I had a 2-year-old and a newborn. Actually, I was nine months pregnant with my second child when I hired her. She was my kids’ nanny for their entire youth.”
Medford-Rosow said she made the right decision in hiring Jimenez
“She started when she was just 23 and she was an amazing, wonderful, loving nanny,” she said. “She was a gift to our family. We had peace of mind going to work each morning knowing our kids were in such good hands.”
While she was employed with the Rosows, she married Ramiro Jimenez, who had worked as a chef at La Puerta Azul in Salt Point, N.Y, and Noche in Manhattan, among other places.
Medford-Rosow said she was immediately impressed with Ramiro Jimenez’s culinary skills.
“He’s a very gifted chef,” she said.
Soon, a plan began to develop.
“Jan and I started talking about opening a restaurant after I retired from my corporate job,” Medford-Rosow said. “They [the Jimenez’s] were family. We spent the holidays together. Ramiro was working an endless cycle of jobs and I said, let’s open our own restaurant and then no one can take advantage of him.”
The Rosows kept a boat in Mahopac at MacDonald Marine while they lived in Edgemont. When retirement came and they looked to move and open their dream restaurant, the Putnam County town seemed the perfect place in which to do it.
“Jan sold her house in Yonkers and we sold our house in Edgemont and we all moved to Mahopac,” Medford-Rosow said. “We found a place for the restaurant and built it out and opened on Feb. 8, 2011.”
Dubbed Ramiro’s 954, the restaurant, which specialized in Latin-fusion cuisine, was quickly named Best New Restaurant in the Hudson Valley by Hudson Valley Magazine.
Lynlil Associate’s Nicole Barile Stern became fast friends with the Jimenez’s after her company leased them the property for the restaurant.
“We sold them their house and Jan told me they wanted to open a restaurant,” Barile Stern recalled. “We loved them, so we went above and beyond. We formed a relationship with them and helped get them on their feet and it became more than a business relationship; we became friends. We work well with all our tenants, but it was just different with them.”
Medford-Rosow said the two couples all shared duties in their new venture, each one bringing something different to the table.
“We were all partners,” she said. “Jan ran the floor out front and I did the books. Ramiro was in the kitchen and Joel (Medford-Rosow’s husband) did whatever else was needed and helped with the build out.”
Barile Stern said she was impressed with Jan Jimenez’s work ethic and moved by her warm personality.
“She was a good person and she was such a hard worker,” she said. “She busted her butt. She greeted you [at the restaurant] with a smile and open arms. You always felt welcomed and were happy to see her. She was a smart, kind woman.”
Even though she was now a restaurant owner, Jimenez never left her childcare roots behind. She loved children and opened four daycare businesses, including one in her home.
“She was an extraordinary nanny and had a gift with children,” Medford-Rosow said. “She had the four daycares. She was very loving and kind and always made an effort to be that way.”
Medford-Rosow said Jimenez was more than just a business partner; she was a best friend.
“We were employer/employee and then business partners, but always best friends,” she said. “She named her second daughter after my daughter—Kyra.”
Brett Freeman, publisher of Mahopac News, called Jimenez a “brilliant businesswoman.”
“While my only interactions with her were at her restaurant, I am proud to say that she was a friend,” Freeman said. “She always made my family feel like we were home when we were at Ramiro’s. When our daughter, Jenna, was about 2 years old, Jan would hold her for half the night while my wife and I dined. My entire family will miss her, and we extend our deepest condolences to everyone who loved her, and I know there were many.”
Medford-Rosow said Jimenez first started getting ill back in January and was in and out of the hospital.
“The last time I saw her was about two weeks ago, and she had lost so much weight,” she said.
Jimenez’s oldest daughter, Gabrielle, 20, a graduate of Mahopac High School’s Class of 2018, said growing up with a mom who specialized in taking care of kids was a singular experience.
“I grew up surrounded by a bunch of other kids, so I had lots of friends,” she said. “I always said that if I have my own kids, she can teach me everything.”
Gabrielle, acting as the Jimenez family spokesperson, said her mother was an inspiration.
“She was a kind-hearted, giving person. That’s who she really was,” she said. “It’s something I will try to aspire to. She was probably the most giving person in the world.”
Funeral arrangements were handled by Balsamo-Cordovano Funeral Home in Carmel and a service was held at St. John the Evangelist Church in Mahopac on Monday, Sept. 21. A private cremation service was held at Ferncliff Crematory