|A large crowd gathers outside the entrance to BJ's Restaurant and Brewery in Countryside Marketplace Friday.|
A large crowd gathered outside the front doors of BJ's alongside Haun Road at Countryside Marketplace to celebrate the opening. After the introduction of local dignitaries and BJ's management staff, patrons were allowed inside to tour the restaurant and enjoy the first meals served.
The general public can enjoy BJ's hospitality beginning Monday, when the Grand Opening is scheduled.
"A year ago, I stood on an empty lot here, thinking of the possibilities," said Menifee Economic Development Director Jeff Wyman, who first approached BJ's about coming to the city. "Everyone at the city is very excited about this. The residents have been asking for more nice restaurants, and this is just one of the amenities that have come here.
"The opening of BJ's will have a huge impact on the city and its economy. It has added a lot of jobs and will generate additional sales tax to help improve essential services such as the Sheriffs Department, Fire Department, streets and roads."
Known for its deep dish pizza, "pizzokie" desserts and wide selection of handcrafted beers, BJ's has grown from its original location in Santa Ana in 1978 to a network of restaurants in California, Texas, Colorado, Ohio and Florida. The local BJ's will employ more than 200 workers.
"We had a great pool of interviewees to work with," said Steve Novotny, general manger of BJ's. "Everyone we've hired has been great. They've been working hard and training for almost six weeks."
The BJ's opening is just half of a big week for the Menifee business community and fans of good food. On Monday, Panera Bread will celebrate its grand opening just across the parking lot.
"What this does is show the level of interest there is in our business community," Menifee Mayor John Denver said. "This is further proof we can handle a number of people in our eating establishments. It also shows the quality of restaurants we're attracting."
BJ's Restaurant and Brewery
30208 Haun Road, Menifee
|Jeff Wyman, Menifee's economic development director, congratulates BJ's General Manager Steve Novotny and staff.|
|Patrons get their first look at the inside of the new BJ's Restaurant, which opens to the general public on Monday.|