BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

Restaurant Photo


They serve a tasty adult root beer. Hamburger sliders
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4502 S. Steele St.
Suite 1500, Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 472-1220

Download Menu (PDF)

American, Burgers/Hot Dogs, Chain, Pub Fare, Pizza, Subs/Sandwiches
Credit Cards Accepted, Full Bar, Kid-Friendly, Take-out, Vegetarian-Friendly
Avg. Meal:

The Review

Reviewed by: Jake and Jason de Paul

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Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Cuisine: Bar and grill fare with emphasis on burgers, pizza, and pasta.
Scene: Pleasant, warm, inviting, spacious — a far cry from the Tacoma Mall interior on the other side.

ANNOUNCER: Taking a partial page from the Cheesecake Factory’s playbook, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse sports a small phonebook sized menu chockful of pleasures Tacoma Mall shoppers will appreciate — cocktails, pizzas, burgers, beer, and pasta.  The basic bar and grill was based on the BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria that opened in 1978 in Santa Ana, Calif. By 1996, the two partners behind BJ's had seven pizza restaurants in operation across Southern California and decided to start their first brewhouse. Now on a major expansion through the West and Southwest, a stock ticker (BJRI) and 80 stores, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse has found its way to T-town, and by the size of the crowds, it appears to be filling a void.

JASON: BJ’s has selling beer down to a science.  When the server stops by the table, he directs your attention to the list of BJ’s brews on the second page. The brewhouse has seven styles from a blonde to a stout.  Each style is lovingly described, and then comes the question: Which would you like to try?  As if there were no other options. I buckled and ordered the Tatonka Stout. Yuk!  It had a funky aftertaste — harsh not creamy.  On my second trip I ordered the Guinness on draft — much better. BJ’s long list of imported beers is impressive, which includes gems such as the Boon Gueze Lambic from Belgium and the Kostritzer Schwarzbier from Germany.  And it carries 23 Belgium ales in bottle.

JAKE: My Prickly Pear ‘Rita, a Houston, Texas, creation with Patron Silver, Cointreau, prickly pear juice, and margarita mix went down smoothly, and then I did it again. It’s sweet with a tart kick. 

JASON: The space has three rooms. The two to the left of the door are dining rooms with a combination of tables and booths.  To the right is a decent sized bar with a take-out station near the entrance.  After a day of shopping, take-out may be the ticket. The décor is a mix of kitsch and polish with lots of dark hard woods and open spaces; there’s a Californian element thrown in as well.  I find the place settling — cozy and yet not stifling. After beating back the mall crowds I feel I can eat here in peace.

JAKE: The appetizer menu features 20 items, ranging from pot stickers to thin-crust pizza.  I waded into the Angus beef sliders — four mini hamburgers served with crisp lettuce confetti, onions, tomato, ketchup, and mustard.  The bun had a soft, fresh bakery taste that supported the beef well. 

JASON: I began my inaugural visit with the daily soup and salad special, which is all you can eat during the lunch hour.  I didn’t get past one serving of either.  The house salad was decent in size with crisp slices of cucumber and tomato and homemade croutons.  For soup I had the chili — a pork and beef combo with a Piranha Pale Ale base.  The texture reminded me more of spaghetti sauce.  The meat was pulverized and mixed in a creamy chili sauce.  I thought the flavors blended well, and although a little too mild, it was satisfying nonetheless.

JAKE: I enjoyed the Angus roast beef dip — two toasted garlic cheese French rolls piled high with fatty rare roast beef, provolone and caramelized onions.  I could finish only half of the sandwich.  Sandwiches and burgers come with a choice of shoestring or wedge fries. Both tasted as you would expect. 

JASON: The spaghetti with meat sauce did share a mood with the chili — as I expected it would.  The sauce was a combination of Angus beef and Italian sausage plus a garlic-tomato sauce.  It had a fresh quality, so I was pleased.

JAKE: I suspect BJ’s understands that mall food doesn’t have to be four-star; it just needs to feature large portions with middle of the road ingredients, and get out of the kitchen fairly quickly at a reasonable price.  Mission accomplished.


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