has announced their grand opening for the newest location in the Houston area. The new store (from the ground up) is located in the Portofino Shopping Center (technically it's in Shenandoah, Texas). The Grand Opening was Monday, November 8th @ 11:00 am.
You may have noticed that the parking lot in front of The Woodlands BJ's Brewhouse has been packed with cars at lunch and dinner the past few days. Well that will continue until Friday night 11-5-2010 and then there will be a lull over the remainder of the weekend. This first week is all about real time training for the entire staff. What does that mean? It means FREE FOOD my friends, that is if you have an invitation. A lot of invitations were sent out via mailing list(s). One list was supplied by The Woodlands Chamber - all of the chamber members got an invitation and there were probably other organizations that got these as well.
So, back to the free food - It's actually a win-win, or at least could be for the restaurant, the staff, and those who got a complimentary meal. This way, the entire staff gets some hands on real time training with one exception really.... There likely won't be any complaints what-so-ever. So they won't get to work with any negative feedback from the consumer side of things. That's not to say that there is or was anything to complain about ( yes, we were on the list ). Who could really complain when they are giving away full servings of what they will be offering on the menu once they have opened for real? So, the food was good, could have been better though. The staff was understandably disorganized and even our waitress had someone following her around, as did several others on the wait staff. The runners kept bringing the wrong food to our table, seriously... the third time I convinced them that they should quit teasing us with food we didn't order and let us keep some of it. So we got a (free) order of potato skins which were actually pretty good and not fried as near as we could tell. I mention that they were (also) free because as part of the scenario, each table got one of a few different menu's with limited selections and were only allowed either a single appetizer or a single dessert for the table; both of them being large enough to share at our four-top table.
Oh, we also had a sample of their pizza which was very tasty in the lobby while we were waiting to be seated.
First off, you should know that the city of Shenandoah / Portofino center management, owner(s) etc allowed BJ's to demolish an existing building *(which we think) had never actually been leased since it was built. BJ's construction crews came in and had the new building up in no time at all. The inside is very nice, appointed with comfortable seating, cloth napkins, heavy eating utensils and nice glassware as well. The plates and such look nice but don't really have the physical qualities of the afore mentioned items. Oh, and the tables appear to be granite; we didn't look at the underside or try to pick one up so they could have been simulated granite but, they are quite nice looking.
BJ's does brew their own beers and should that not please you, they have some 30 other 'guest beers' as well - many if not all of them by the keg. This means they aren't pasteurized beers so they taste much better than anything from a bottle or a can! So check out BJ's sometime soon, they have several big screen TV's spread out along the walls including what might be a 60 or 70 inch LED TV over the Bar that even looks great from way across the dining room.
How to get there: From south of The Woodlands, exit at Tamina Rd / Research Forest and stay on the feeder, just after the first traffic light you will pass Katz's Express, Pei Wei, and Buca di Beppo on the right, BJ's Brewhouse is just past Buca. From North of The Woodlands, exit Research Forest and utilize the U-turn lane and BJ's will be on the right.
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