If you happen to have a location of BJ’s in your neck of the woods, consider yourself lucky: This chain takes its beer seriously, and its food menu is huge. But even if no Sunday night is complete without a Pizookie, we bet there’s a lot you didn’t know about this chain.
BJ’s was founded in 1978, in Huntington Beach, California, and its Southern California twist on traditional Chicago deep-dish pizza attracted a wide following. It expanded rapidly after going public in 1996, and today there are 180 locations in 23 states. In 2010 and 2011, the National Retail Federation named it one of the 10 fastest growing restaurants in the country based on year-over-year sales, and though the pace has slowed down a little bit, the chain is still going strong.
The first thing you’ll notice after sitting down at a BJ’s is the sheer size of the menu. Along with pizza you’ll find steaks, burgers, salads, chicken dishes, seafood, ribs and pulled pork, pastas, sandwiches, soups, desserts, and a wide variety of pub-style appetizers. Each location also offers a rotating selection of 10 proprietary beers and ciders brewed just for the chain. Favorites include LightSwitch Lager, Brewhouse Blonde, Hopstorm IPA, Nutty Brewnette, and Tatonka Stout.
Every sit-down chain serves beer, but the brews found at BJ’s can’t be found anywhere else. Thanks to that fact, as well as a varied menu and a signature dessert — the Pizookie, or pizza cookie — we expect BJ’s to be around for quite a while.
Read on for 10 facts about this fast-growing chain.