When I opened BJ's Kountry Kitchen, it wasn't an instant success. Honestly, there were days i doubted that customers wanted an old-fashioned, home-style meal cooked by cooks - not commissaries - and served by likable waitresses - not conveyor belts. In 1981 as now fast food and chain coffee shops had most of the multi-billion dollar business.
BJ's Kountry Kitchen had more modest goal - to cook meals no more complex nor costly than what hard-working people eat at home and served it in a fast-paced, responsive restaurant. I pictured the locally-owned corner coffee shop with its cramped kitchen and well lighted dining room, comfortable booths, and waitresses flying between them with hot coffee and solid meals. The chili was going to be our own, the French toast was made from white bread - like home and the menu variety wasn't but according to our customers likes and dislikes. And perhaps, most importantly, i limited the ours from 6:00 a.m.. to 2:00 p.m.., which gave us a single-shift, two-meal business to run: and the less hours open, the more time to do it right.
That vision, perseverance, and hard work paid off and BJ's Kountyr Kitchen has become a favorite in California's Central Valley. Soon we outgrew our first location and moved to a little larger but still homey restaurant on Ashlan Avenue. Growth has come slowly to the family of BJ's Kountry Kitchens: since i wanted each restaurant owner to be an operator and learn every aspect of the the business, from dishwashing to has-slinging to mop-wringing.
Even the dominance of mass-Produced food hasn't stopped the progress of BJ' Kountry Kitchen. And now, responding to our growing customer base, we include on our menu additional choices for Senior Citizens and Children, a selection of lower-calorie and non-cholesterol dishes, and new combinations of some old favorites.
Never is never a good word to use in the restaurant business. But i never want BJ's Kountry Kitchen to look, taste, and feel like a carbon copy eatery. Our food is cooked by cooks, served by servers, and eaten by people. And that's an experience as individual as each of us and frankly unique in today's busy restaurant market. Thank you for coming home with me to BJ's Kountry Kitchen. Just holler if you need a re-fill!