With just over 100 locations, California-based BJ’s Restaurant is a sort of commercialized microbrewery; each location emulates sort of an Americana atmosphere and an upscale bar to match. While this isn’t the type of place I’d normally be inclined to sample, BJ’s lends itself to a lot of scrutiny. It’s the first microbrewery “chain” I’ve found in this area of Ohio, with a menu of a dozen or so custom-craft beers. Also, once you find your way through the flashy front doors, the motto of BJ’s is “Wow, I love this place.”
Challenge accepted, BJ’s.
So, as far as food goes, this place has all the stereotypical bar foods; pizza, burgers, wings and fried stuff. There aren’t any special food items on the menu. I suppose this isn’t bad by itself since some sports bar places seem to like the similarity. The atmosphere is pretty stereotypical as well. It’s casual fine dining, with lots of TV’s playing a variety of sporting events, and a ritzy atmosphere.
- Mahi mahi tacos: These tacos come either grilled or crispy with the extra bonus of a chips and salsa to add a little dimension. The crispy version is a little heavy but grilled they are great.
- BJ’s Signiture Burger: Definitely the classic burger recipe, grilled beef, cheese and veggies. Found it a little forgettable though.
- Pizookie: Basically a cookie cake topped with ice cream, there are a few different options. Chocolate chip cookie, monkey bread, you name it. Hefty desert. Amazing.
- Buffalo chicken deep dish pizza: A pizza is a pretty common affair, but BJ’s has a lot of different options for their offering. Their deep dish pizzas are greasy, but good, and I would say overall a decent item to try on the menu. Overall very delicious; not too much sauce or cheese or dough.
- BBQ Pulled pork: Smothered in a thick sweet barbecue sauce and then topped with onion rings and some cole slaw on the side. Very sweet and Midwestern.
- Clam chowder: Thick and full soup, this makes a great appetizer. Nice way to start a meal.
- Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts: Lightly fried Brussels sprouts lightly fried and topped with a sweet sriracha crema on top. The sprouts are just a little crisp and with a slight heat.
- Salmon quinoa bowl: A Grilled salmon atop a bed of quinoa and grilled veggies with a soy ginger sauce. Not as fatty as some of the other options on the menu, and a creative combination.
- Craft beer: What I was most interested in, of course, was the microbrews. It’s unusual of to find a major regional chain with custom house brews. I’m sorry to say I was less than impressed. There is a lot of fizz to the pale ale to give it a little kick, but it’s so smoky you won’t enjoy it, and I tried a pilsner which was indistinguishable from any other.
I will say service is okay. Sometimes you get a good server, and sometimes you don’t. It’s hard to say service is ever consistent at a place, but my experience has been that places that are consistently inconsistent have some problems with management. I suppose that’s a little abstract, though. All in all, BJ’s is a safe place to go for a good meal, and it’s definitely an accommodating location to bring a group. I’m not convinced it’s the best place I’ve ever visited, and I certainly think some of the menu is utterly unremarkable.
Nice try, BJ’s.
- This is definitely an upscale, casual dining sportsbar type place.
- Standard bar food is a safe option here, pizzas and wings among them.
- Try to avoid peak hours to ensure service is as fast as possible.