Toms River: Ocean County Mall- BJ’s Brewhouse. Tonight Staff 01 and Mrs. Staff 01 were invited to the soft opening of the restaurant. We obliged and decided to sample the dishes and atmosphere. The restaurant opens to the general public on Monday July 1.

The soft opening was held to give the staff a chance to prepare for the unrelenting public on July 1. Invited guests were given a small menu with a choice of 5 various dishes to sample.

The first thing you notice about this place is they’re serious about beer. They brew their own, and they really promote their offerings. If you like beer, you’ll really enjoy this place. The dining room is spacious and seats plenty, and there is a large rectangular bar to the left. Also noticed was an outdoor dining area with a fire pit, but was unusable due to tonight’s rain.

The menu is expansive and features deep dish pizza, steak, pasta, chicken, ribs, and other popular bar food. Prices range between $15-$30 for entrees, and beer is around $7 per glass when it’s not on special. BJ’s also makes their own sodas with favorites like Ginger Beer, Root Beer, Orange Cream, and Black Cherry to name a few. Handmade sodas will set you back a cool $3.50.

Now onto the food! I was really hoping to try one of their deep-dish pizzas, but they weren’t offered to our table. I opted for the steak tips and ribs, while Mrs. 01 took on a Chicken Alfredo dish. The Missus sampled some beer to her liking, while I enjoyed a frozen strawberry margarita. The food was decent quality for bar food, and much better than other chain restaurants.

The whole restaurant has the industrial feel and decor, and it fits nicely. Tons of televisions to keep up with sporting events, and loud music. This is a family restaurant, so the music is loud enough to drown out cries of disgruntled children. On a side note- the van is clean and stocked with two rolls of two-ply ass wipe. This is a step up from the usual one-ply sandpaper that chains traditionally stock.

Overall, this place is different for a chain. The menu has something for everyone, and you’re not stuck with one type of food (Italian, Steak, BBQ, etc). They also have a lot of burgers which I hope to try in the future along with the pizza. It’s a welcome edition to the area, and will help catalyze the new additions to the mall.