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BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, a Southern California-based restaurant chain, is opening its first Illinois location next September in Orland Park. The chain is already hiring senior kitchen managers for its new outpost, according to job listings from the restaurant.
Plans for the new location of BJ’s have been in the works since last April, when it was one of several restaurants proposed for a 44,000-square-foot lot called LaGrange Square near Orland Square Mall, where a Toys ‘R Us previously stood. The restaurant would occupy a 7,600-square-foot standalone building with an outdoor patio.
Headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., BJ’s was founded in 1978 as “BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria.” Over the years, it expanded from a few outposts of a Chicago-style pizza joint serving deep dish pizzas to national restaurant chain with its own microbreweries at some locations, which supply BJ’s beer to other restaurants in the chain. Its menu includes deep dish pizzas, salads, soups, pastas, steaks and other entrees, with an ice-cream-topped cookie pizza dubbed a “Pizookie” for dessert.
BJ’s had more than 200 restaurant locations across the U.S. as of 2020, though none were in Illinois. It will be joined at LaGrange Square by restaurants Raising Cane’s, Chipotle and Panera Bread, according to Orland Park Economic Development plans.
This is a developing story. What Now Chicago has reached out to Lon Ledwith, BJ’s Executive Vice President of Operations, for more information.