The first restaurant I went to in Gainesville was BJ’s. I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana, and what I got was the largest portion of chicken and spaghetti I ever saw. I never finished the whole meal, and I have been wanting to go back and try it again ever since.
For a lot of people, when they try new restaurants they like to try something local and relatively unheard of, since a lot of well-known chain restaurants are often hit and miss. BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, however, is not like the other chains. They offer an expansive menu of well-known items with a special touch that makes it their own.
The atmosphere of BJ’s is definitely not that of a small-scale, local restaurant. The building is big and it is always packed with people for dinner. However, once you are seated the wait staff is extremely hospitable. On all my visits, each waiter I’ve had has a new story to tell and a new level on which they relate to you. Above all else, each of them also seems very dedicated and passionate about the restaurant.
On this visit, I finally decided to try and tackle the massive Italian Chicken Parmigiana ($13.95), which features two large pieces of chicken covered in mozzarella cheese over a bed of spaghetti. The portion was still large, but they actually cut back on the spaghetti this time. The chicken had a light peppery taste to it that complimented the cheese and pasta sauce tastes well. My boyfriend got the Piranha Pale Ale Chili Cheeseburger ($11.25), a massive burger with their signature chili and a side of either wedge or straight-cut fries. If you order the burger, do not expect to eat it like a burger. They pile the chili on so much you have to eat it with a fork. Even though their burger loses the touch of being a finger food, the delectable taste of their chili makes up for it.
BJ’s is also well-known for their cream sodas, root beer and their actual beers. Their root beer is really sweet, and is the best I ever had. They also have an orange cream soda that tastes like creamsicle popsicles. On the occasions when my brother and dad have gone to BJ’s with me, they both tried a variety of the hand-crafted beers. They both expressed that the brewery side of BJ’s is just as great as the restaurant.
Price Range: $$
Good For: Lunch, Dinner
Must Try: Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Flat Bread, Piranha Pale Ale Chili Cheeseburger
Hours: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. Sun – Thurs, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. Fri & Sat
Location: 6611 W Newberry Rd, Gainesville, FL