CRESWELL, Ore. — Word is quickly spreading around Creswell that the bar at TJ’s is back open after a fire shut down the business for the last four months. In just a few weeks, the restaurant will be serving its popular dishes in the newly remodeled dining room.
From a pile of ashes to a brand new bar, there’ve been a lot of changes at TJ’s Restaurant during the past four months. “When the fire hit us it totally destroyed the entire contents. So we went all the way back to the studs an so everything you see here is brand new,” said Tom Nelson, TJ’s Restaurant owner.
Investigators originally estimated it would cost around $300,000 to repair the restaurant, but the smoke damaged all of the equipment so badly that everything had to be replaced. “Now we’re in at a little over $800,000 and that will go higher probably closer to $900,000 when it’s all said and done,” said Nelson.
While the bar stools sat empty on this Easter Sunday, they’ve been full of customers old and new during the past few days. “All of our business has come back and in addition to that we’ve picked up some new younger clientele because the bar now is so much for older citizens, but for younger citizens in the community as well,” said Nelson.
With a new color scheme and more TVs, the changes to the bar are apparent. They’ll also be obvious once the restaurant construction is complete. “We have 130 items on the menu, but we wanted to add a few dinner menu items which we’ve done. We’re not changing the menu pricing. We’re not changing the existing items, we’re just adding to it,” said Nelson.
But while the spot pretty much has a whole new look, the owner said people who crave a late night breakfast can still find their favorite dishes on the menu at any time of the day. “So we want our community to know that we’re going to be right back where we were before the fire occurred,” said Nelson.
Nelson said his goal was to be up and running at the beginning of May because just under half of their business comes from people driving through the area during the summer.