Dedicated to (hot) dogs [UPDATED]Published 9:15am Tuesday, April 23, 2013 Updated 11:17am Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Beer and hotdogs have been one of America’s favorite combinations for decades. It is also the centerpiece of Perham’s newest restaurant, CJ’s Garage Grill, but owners Jayne and Chris Erwin insist the establishment offers much more.
“We want people to know we’re a family-friendly restaurant,” Jayne said.
Jayne, a native of Mayville, recently moved from Reno, Nev., with her husband with the desire to start a family. Having researched the opportunities, the Erwins used Chris’s background running Dave and Buster restaurants on the West Coast to buy the location behind the Stationhouse restaurant downtown.
That desire to start a family of their own lead to their focus on bringing a family atmosphere that also serves fun and creative adult drinks in the evening.
On March 28, the two introduced their garage-themed restaurant to the public. Having looked at menus of other restaurants, the Erwins decided they would try to stand out in the area.
“We did our research and found other restaurants were doing more of the traditional burgers and sandwiches,” Jayne said. “We were looking for something different.”
After watching a show on the Food Network, the two got their idea: hotdogs. And not just ordinary hotdogs, but Nathan’s Famous Footlongs.
With a variety of toppings covering each dog, the possibility for new creations are endless.
“We’ve already had people come in and make suggestions,” Jayne said. “We’re hoping to have things like seasonal dogs and to just keep adding ingredients.”
With 10 signature dogs, including favorites like the Lowrider Dog (homemade barbecue sauce, coleslaw and pickles) and the Mac Daddy Dog (mac and cheese with crumbled bacon), the Erwins say customers are already savoring the new tastes.
Having spent the first two weeks trying to get a feel for the demand, Jayne said they’ve run out of dogs twice already. Now they have regular shipments coming to make sure they stay stocked.
“It’s been crazy. We’ve been really lucky to have such a positive reaction,” Jayne said. “The community has been so good to us.”
The Erwins also hope to provide more for their new community, with plans to join other bar and restaurant owners in town to expand activities during festivals and the busy summer tourist season.
But, until then, the two will continue offering their selection of dogs and an assorted menu of appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, all with an abundance of good service.
CJ’s is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. In May, hours are planned to expand to seven days a week.