I had the pleasure of attending BJ’s Brewhouse’s pre-opening event for lunch. Despite the limited menu offerings and somewhat confusing ordering instructions they had for today, BJ’s completely lived up to the hype that’s surrounded Tyler’s newest restaurant since they broke ground last year.
Upon arrival we were handed our menus and given instructions to select one entree or one pizza and either an appetizer or a dessert. It appeared as though each table was given a different menu to choose from, and I assume this was to give the staff experience serving and preparing each and every item they offer. The entrees that we had to choose from were the Field of Greens salad, Atlantic Salmon, the Calzone, or the Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich. Their full range of specialty pizzas were also available for us to choose from. Since we were instructed to order just one item per menu per table, our table of four ordered one salmon, one salad, one combination pizza, and one Pizookie sundae to finish things off. The Field of Greens salad was my chosen entree, and it was quite delicious. It came with red peppers, candied pecans, mandarin oranges, purple onion, and mixed greens and was tossed in a light dressing. Any of the items would have paired nicely with one of BJ’s specialty brews, but since this was a working lunch I stuck with water. I can’t wait to go back another time and sample their beer selection. The star of the show was the Pizookie cookie sundae topped with vanilla ice cream. It was definitely worth the indulgence and not quite as sinful when shared with three other people.
BJ’s officially opens for business on Monday, February 28 and I anticipate the lines here to be long for awhile. The extensive menu, courteous staff and intriguing yet comfortable atmosphere make BJ’s a welcome addition to Tyler’s restaurant selection.
hours: Sun – Thurs 11am-12am, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 10am-1am
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
210 WSW Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75703
I finally got on board the SmashBurger train and decided to brave the crowd Friday night to see what all the fuss is about. The line wasn’t going out the door when we got there, but it was close. I’d heard stories about the line going out the door and wrapping around the entire building.
The process at SmashBurger is such where you wait in line to order at the counter, then you are given a number and the SmashBurger staff brings your food to you when it’s ready. We were given menus to look over while we were in line, and I think I changed my mind about six or seven times before I reached the counter and had to commit. Burger or chicken, which should I choose? In the midst of the mental anguish brought on by this monumental decision, a table next to where we were in line received their food… During this moment I was able to grasp mental clarity as I stared at the diners and weighed each option. I reached a conclusion just in time and went with the Classic SmashBurger and fried dill pickles.
We were able to find a great table on the patio, and we waited just a few minutes before our food was delivered. It was awesome. My burger was incredible, and the fried pickles were out of this world. My sister ordered the SmashChicken and sweet potato fries, and they were both fantastic as well. They season their fries with rosemary which is a subtle yet delicious touch. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make this a regular hang out as burgers and fries aren’t especially good for my waistline, but it’s definitely a fun place to indulge a burger craving every once in awhile. And, they even serve beer!
Rumor has it that the Tyler SmashBurger franchise has been such a smashing success that another SmashBurger is in the works on Broadway right next to the brand new Courtyard by Marriott. We will see! In the meantime, please be sure to have a couple SmashFries for me whenever you decide to stop in.
3314 Troup Highway
Tyler, TX 75701
California Style Meets Texas Flavor
I love going to Sonoma Grill for the salads and appetizers, but they have a little something for everyone, including half priced bottles of wine every Tuesday. Their wine selection is pretty good, too – I like the spicy Malbecs. And for the martini lovers, they have some yummy ones like the Wedding Cake and Banana Creme Pie martinis. Yum.
We decided to head to Sonoma Grill today for lunch, and I knew what I was going to order before I got there. The Hazelnut Caprino Salad. SO GOOD. Except, when I got there I changed my mind. I have been on a huge scallop kick lately, so I went with the Shrimp and Scallop Salad. Try saying that three times fast. They have one of my favorite salad dressings ever here, and sadly, I don’t even know what it is. They say it’s some kind of vinaigrette, but it’s creamy in texture and appearance, so I’m not sure what’s in it, but it’s so good.
In addition to the good food, the restaurant also looks really cool. Stained concrete floors, colored ceiling panels, cool light fixtures and beautiful drapery add a nice touch to the ambiance. I’m a sucker for a cool atmosphere, so I give Sonoma additional points for the nice decor.
I mentioned I love their salads, but the burgers, Tex-Mex chicken sandwich, and the crab cakes are also delish. We give Sonoma Grill two thumbs up… Be sure to check it out!
5875 Old Bullard Rd # 500
Tyler, TX 75703-4341