Exceeding Expectations

The Short Course

To avoid wait: Anytime, and you can call ahead for parties up to 6.
Noise level: Moderate to loud
Bathroom amenities: Changing station in both the men’s and women’s restroom.
High chairs? Yes.
Got milk? Yes.
Kids’ menu? Yes, it offers MANY options and complimentary ‘starters.’
Allergies? Alert your server of any allergies so precautions can be taken in the kitchen. Gluten free menu options available.

BJ’s is becoming a fast favorite in Toledo

It’s hard to miss one of Toledo’s newest restaurants, located on Monroe Street in front of the mall. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse has grown to 205 locations in 27 states with 13 of them in Ohio. The large but tasteful wood and brick building is an eye-catcher. And Toledoans seem to think the cuisine inside is even better. After visiting one in Columbus with their uncle, my boys were chomping at the bit to stop in for a bite. Of course, we invited a few friends to make it a back- to-school celebration. (The parents may have been celebrating more than the kids!)


A menu on steroids…even for the kids!

BJ’s is a restaurant to please your entire group, no matter their picky inclinations. Everything from the restaurant layout, the menu, the portions and their charitable foundation is, in one word, BIG.

Admittedly, I was overwhelmed by the menu, which lists over 140 items. Thankfully, however, it is organized by sections, so if you are having a particular craving, it makes it easy to locate your desire. Sections include pasta, sandwiches and tacos, burgers, slow-roasted entrees, and even a fabulous subcategory called the EnLIGHTened® Menu which offers lighter fare, as well as vegan and vegetarian options. Now that I know they began as a pizza shop in 1978, I feel a return trip with the Pizza Posse is in order to try one of their 18 flavors of pie, including deep-dish pizza that is made with dough that rises twice! And don’t forget about their 11 signature beers. Afterall, “brewhouse” is part of their name.

Not only do they have an affordable children’s menu, they may have the most options I have ever seen for kids, with more than 10 entrée options, a choice of 11 sides, and two desserts (priced extra).

In addition to a fun menu, complete with activities to pass the time, they offer what they call “kid starters.” When little ones are seated, the first thing out to the table is a complementary garlic knot and some fresh fruit because we all know “hangry” little ones make dining out a little less enjoyable.


Making a difference in the community

It wasn’t until I noticed an article hanging on the wall that made me stop and realize there is a lot more to this restaurant than just good food, strong drinks, and great service.

BJ’s has its own foundation that supports things such as children’s healthcare. They primarily support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) ,and Cookies 4Kids is part of that initiative. Sales from their ever-popular Pizookie® desserts go directly to support the CFF, and the Pizookies® are amazing. Be sure to order one for the table to share! The company goes a step further and even rewards employees who are active in the community.

They have programs that promote leadership and advancement of women in their organization. They offer fundraising options for local schools, as well as a program for teachers to reward students for achieving success in school. To date, the company has made donations to over 60 charities. Great food aside, knowing about this franchise makes me want to return and give them more of my business. In many ways, BJ’s has surely exceeded my expectations.

Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o toledoparenteditor@adamsstreetpublishing.com.

Bottom Line:

Though many of us sometimes prefer local restaurants to a chain, don’t discount the newest franchise in town, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, located in front of the Franklin Park Mall. The atmosphere is lively, the service is great, and they offer an amazingly large menu filled with fabulous options — along with one of the biggest kids’ menus around. Little ones are sure to love the “Kid Starters” that come out to the table immediately to take the edge off their rumbly little tummies.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
4905 Monroe St., Toledo | 419.402.8210
Mon-Thur: 11AM-11PM
Fri-Sat: 11AM-1AM
Sun: 11AM-12AM