What did BJS used to be called?

Answered by John Watkins

BJ's, originally known as BJ Grunts, was founded in 1978 by Jim Kozen and Leonard Allenstein. The restaurant first opened its doors in Santa Ana, California, under the name BJ's Chicago Pizzeria. However, shortly after its opening, the founders encountered a Federal Trademark conflict with another eatery called RJ Grunts, which was a popular hamburger shop based in Chicago. As a result, they had to change the name of their establishment to avoid any legal issues.

The decision to change the name from BJ Grunts to BJ's Chicago Pizzeria was likely a strategic one. By incorporating the word “Chicago,” they were able to evoke a sense of authenticity and association with the city's renowned pizza culture. This could have been a marketing tactic to attract customers who were looking for an authentic Chicago-style pizza experience.

The founders might have also chosen the name BJ's as a way to create a catchy and memorable brand. Short and simple names are often easier for customers to remember and can help with brand recognition. Additionally, the use of initials in the name adds a sense of familiarity and can make it feel more personal.

It is important to note that while the name was changed from BJ Grunts to BJ's Chicago Pizzeria, the menu and concept of the restaurant remained the same. BJ's continued to serve their signature deep-dish pizzas, along with a variety of other dishes such as pasta, salads, and sandwiches.

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I have had the opportunity to visit and experience BJ's firsthand. I remember being intrigued by the name BJ's Chicago Pizzeria, as it immediately sparked my curiosity about the restaurant's origins and what they had to offer. The name stood out to me among the numerous pizza places in the area, and I was excited to try their deep-dish pizza.

Upon visiting BJ's, I was impressed by the warm and inviting atmosphere of the restaurant. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, which added to the overall dining experience. The menu featured an extensive selection of craft beers, which complemented their delicious pizzas perfectly. I remember enjoying a flight of their house-brewed beers, each one offering a unique flavor profile.

The name change from BJ Grunts to BJ's Chicago Pizzeria was a necessary step for the founders to avoid any legal conflicts. The new name allowed them to maintain their focus on serving authentic Chicago-style pizzas, while also creating a memorable and recognizable brand. Today, BJ's continues to be a popular destination for pizza lovers, offering a diverse menu and a wide range of craft beers to accompany their delicious food.