Popularly known for its comforting, feel-good Hawaiian favorites is B.J. BBQ, a simple, home-style restaurant tucked away in Guam's rugged Harmon Industrial Park that welcomes its patrons with aloha and håfa adai.
Inspired by his uncle's Honolulu, Hawaii, restaurant, Richie's Drive-Inn, Byung Jin "B.J." Choe's parents opened a similar joint named after their son for the people of Guam to enjoy in 1993.
The restaurant is now owned and operated by Choe himself, who was born in South Korea and raised in Hawaii.
Now in its 25th year, B.J. BBQ offers its crowd a hefty spread of variety breakfast items, choice-style lunch plates, burgers and sandwiches – all at reasonable prices for generous portions.
The dining experience itself is an easygoing and enjoyable one with booth-style tables that have been there since the restaurant's opening.
Favored by regulars and newbies alike
The B.J. BBQ menu is favored by many and caters to returning regulars, including government and private-sector employees, families and even Guam's manåmko', or elders.
According to Choe, the restaurant is especially packed during the lunch rush, when at least 100 plates are sold within the hour.
What drives the rush? Maybe it's the meat served hot off the grill, the satisfaction of two unselfish scoops of rice or the luscious gravy that smothers the steaming dish.
B.J.'s local hits are the highly sought-after barbecue chicken; tender and flavor-packed kalbi short ribs; combination bento with barbecue chicken, barbecue beef, Spam and fried shrimp; and signature Hawaiian-grind loco moco plates served with white rice and macaroni salad.
Also on the menu are meat and seafood mix plates, chicken cutlet and katsu, mahi mahi and even a chili dog plate, all served with the signature rice and mac.
Breakfast and lunch at B.J.'s
For a satisfying way to start the day, B.J.'s breakfast menu gives the locally loved options of ham, bacon, hot dogs, Portuguese sausage, Vienna sausage or Spam served with two any-style eggs and a side of regular white rice or fried rice, toast, hash browns, hot cakes or French toast.
There's something for burger and sandwich lovers, too, such as the classic hamburger and cheeseburger, and Choe's barbecue burgers, breaded chicken burger, a mahi mahi burger and various sandwiches layered with eggs, ham, bacon, Spam and cheese.
For a little extra something, additional sides of white rice, chili rice, French fries, macaroni salad, toast, hash browns and kimchi are available, not to mention a saimin spicy noodle soup.
To wash it all down, patrons can easily fill their cups with a variety of staple fountain drinks, bottled water or canned soda.
B.J. BBQ is the perfect place to get your fill.
A surprising taste
Choe says he feels good whenever B.J. BBQ patrons let him know they enjoy his food, especially the restaurant's long-time regulars who express their satisfaction with what B.J.'s has to offer.
He's seen new customers come in who express their pleasant surprise at the food's flavor – something he attributes to their "family secret."
"They really like it. (It's a) different taste," he says. "You don't get this kind of taste anywhere else. Only here."
This is the first exclusive look Choe has given on his restaurant and dishes, he says, and all of its success has been a result of word-of-mouth and customers coming back for more.
"I guess the food's good, so people talk about it and come in. Come over and check it out."
B.J. BBQ is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.