TBBW tries things: New menu items at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and a love song for a Pizookie (PHOTOS)

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, a chain based out of Huntington Beach, California, isn’t a dining spot you will find in the monthly installment of our Posher Palate fine dining preview. But it is a fan favorite of the Tampa Bay Business and Wealth staff.

You may find us enjoying deep dish pizzas, crispy fries or even the occasional Pizookie (on cheat days, of course!), any given evening after a TBBW event. We like to stop there, on our way home, as we normally don’t find time to actually eat at any of our own events. It’s become a fun tradition. And it’s central for the Pinellas County people. It’s on the way home, almost anywhere.

So, when we were invited to try out new menu items, it was one of those glorious moments where the perks of the job are appreciated. Why yes, we would like to try your new menu items. Our justification? It’s a great spot for a casual business lunch.

The first thing out to our table was the new Hickory Brisket Nachos. Which I, personally, loved. I’m a sucker for barbeque and this brisket was good and plentiful. They are not stingy with the toppings on this and it’s seriously enough for four people to share if you’re planning on ordering other items. Word to the wise if cilantro isn’t your thing ask for this item without it. They are not stingy with the divisive herb either.

Now, if you have diners with you that don’t enjoy barbeque (like a normal person, ahem, Bridgette Bello…) that is fine. I’d suggest skipping it. Again, there’s a lot of brisket on these.

The next item we tried was the Big Twist Pretzel with BJ’s Beer Cheese. This one I skipped over, other than trying a small bite because, unlike most normal people, I don’t care for pretzels. But it’s worth ordering for the beer cheese. Put it on the nachos and thank me later.

Because Bello and I were there on official business, and had to do some thorough research, we ordered the White Peach Boba-Rita. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

I’m still not sure what boba is but they burst in your mouth, which was kind of fun. The cocktail, itself, isn’t too sweet and has real chunks of fresh peaches. It comes with a boba-friendly straw, for the bobas, obviously, and is rimmed with tasty sugar.

We went off script, as we’re known to do, and ordered a few items to share for our lunch that are on the standard menu. One from the lunch menu, the Chicken Bacon Ranch Piadina, and one from the dinner menu, the Santa Fe Salad.

It’s a shame they brought out the Piadina first because it was so ridiculously good that we didn’t want to stop eating it for the salad, even though the salad was great too.

So, let’s describe this Piadina situation. It’s seasoned grilled chicken, applewood bacon, ranch, tomatoes and BJ’s signature five cheese blend on a crispy parmesan wrap…yeah, try moving to a grilled chicken salad after that. Good luck!

It’s good. Very good. And the salad is great too. But sorry, that wrap is the one to go for if you’re not counting calories.

I feel guilty not providing the salad with its own time in the limelight so yes, it’s good. The chicken is seasoned well and the salad is hearty and filling. If you skip the Piadina and order the salad, you will no doubt want to end your meal with the Peanut Butter S’mores Pizookie.

Scratch that.

Just go to BJ’s and order the Pizookie. This is the kind of desert you actually don’t want to know exists because you will think about it, often, and wish you had one in front of you. It’s that good. It’s life-changing good. It’s “I could write a love song for this thing” good.

Remember the commercial, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” Well, I can honestly say, I wouldn’t do much for one of those but I would do some questionable things for that Peanut Butter S’mores Pizookie. Don’t judge me until you try it. If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it. But I’m not. Go order one. You’ll see.

In short, the new menu at BJ’s is worth your time and money. It’s a great place for a business lunch, a late-night stopgap or an amazing family dinner. And, again, get the Pizooki! Those things are truly on a playing field of their own.

This story was co-written by Jo-Lynn Brown and Bridgette Bello | Photos by Jo-Lynn Brown

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