When Ian McQueen and Justin Oliveri took ownership of JJ's Grill and Brewhouse at the beginning of 2015, they felt the menu was a little erratic. Mexican dishes, salads, Italian pastas and fried foods all on the same menu wasn't allowing them to focus on perfecting any one style of food.
McQueen and Oliveri share a passion for smoking meats, so they began incorporating them into the nachos and some of the other dishes already on the menu.
"There isn't much barbecue in the Northwest," says Oliveri. "And that's what we happen to both specialize in," added McQueen.
Wanting to give JJ's a new look and more consistent theme, they decided to focus on smoking, and rebrand JJ's Grill and Brewhouse as JJ's Tap and Smokehouse.
The main features on the new food menu are handheld, including a Tri-Tip Dip ($14) with smoked provolone cheese, horseradish aioli and au jus on a hoagie roll, and BBQ Beef Brisket ($13) with crispy onion straws and coleslaw on a brioche bun.
Smaller plates include a pound of ribs ($12) and stuffed spuds ($9) served with a smoked onion dip. For the more hungry, platters ($18-$24) come with two sides and garlic bread.
McQueen assures that the half-pound burgers JJ's is known for are not going anywhere, just getting a smokehouse twist. All sauces are made in-house, and many dishes feature local bread from Petit Chat Village Bakery. Aside from the regular food menu, there also will be rotating seasonal specials.
JJ's 17 taps have expanded to 25, featuring a variety of IPAs; at least 10 of the taps always pour local brews.
The cocktail list also offers smoked options, including Bloody Marys made with 21 Window smoked vodka and smoke-infused whiskey drinks.
JJ's rebrand is planned to officially launch shortly after Valentine's Day.
McQueen and Oliveri considered changing the name from JJ's, but ultimately decided they didn't want people to think the atmosphere would be completely different after the rebrand.
"JJ's will still be a place to watch Seahawks games and experience that local, neighborhood feel," says Oliveri. "It's just going to have a little more to offer now, too." ♦
JJ's Tap and Smokehouse • 8801 N. Indian Trail Rd. • Open Mon-Thu, 11 am-midnight; Fri-Sat, 8:30-2 am; Sun, 8:30 am-midnight • Facebook: JJ's Grill and Brewhouse • 467-4267