TJ’s Everyday, Paoli

35 Paoli Plaza
Paoli, PA
(Next to the Paoli Post Office)

Overview: Great neighborhood bar and restaurant in the heart of Paoli. Also offers takeout. TJ’s menu has recently (Spring ’07) undergone a major transformation and now focuses on cooking with beer and beer/food pairings.

Food: We’ve only had the “Belgian Blonde” burgers from the new menu, but they were a definite improvement over the old burgers (nice and charred on the outside, pink within). The fries, which used to be the standard, crunchy, bland bar type, are now thick, old fashioned steak fries that might be the best in the area. There is also a nice variety of toppings — the “TJ’s Burger” comes with fried onions, provolone and horseradish mayo, and the “Black & Blue” is cajun-spiced with bleu cheese. TJ’s also offers more complex food specials such as Chipotle-Framboise Chicken, Bass Ale Braised Salmon, and Guinness-Glazed Beef Tenderloin Tips, which all have suggested beer pairings. This is no typical bar food!

Beer: TJ’s competes only with the Flying Pig for the area’s Best Beer Bar title (pre-Teresa’s Next Door of course), with a 25 beer, seasonal draft list (includes Spaten Optimator, Warsteiner Dunkel, Leffe Brun and more) and close to 200 bottles (including a cellar-aged selection). This place is an absolute MUST for beer lovers.

Ambiance: There are two distinct sides to TJ’s — the bar side, which is fun and energetic, yet comfortable as a neighborhood bar should be, and the dining side, which is a bit more subdued but good for a family meal. The bar has a number of tables, a decent-sized bar area and even a plush couch and chairs. It can get crowded at happy hour (especially on Friday), where people come to check out the game on a big-screen plasma or play a few rounds of Golden Tee. The restaurant side is quiet but nicely designed, and also smoke free, another plus. There is a pool table on the restaurant side, but we find it a bit boring (despite our hatred of 2nd-hand smoke).

Service: Fine for what it is, although attentiveness typically wavers when the place is busy. One other note — avoid takeout on Friday nights, as fishing through the happy hour crowd to retrieve your order is nearly impossible!

Value: The specialty beers can run up the tab quickly, but otherwise this is reasonable pub grub. (A gripe: I asked for extra ketchup and was charged $0.30 — what’s up with that?)

times we’ve eaten there: 5+
cards: yes
bar: full

50 thoughts on “TJ’s Everyday, Paoli”

  1. Excellent place to go out for dinner. We loved the beer selection, even my wife (who isn’t a huge beer drinker) found one she liked! Service was prompt and delightful. Our food was excellent..try the burgers or shrimp tacos. We’ll be back for more!

  2. This place is disappointing . Service was terrible. Tehy forgot our appetizers, brought them out after dinner when they realized they forgot them and then wanted to charge us . Friend of mine was limited to 2 beers – he is 6’8″ 260lbs because of it’s alchohol content, I think he can handle 3 beers on his own.
    Avoid this place. Food is mediocre, decor is a bit cheesy, and service is spotty/slow.

    1. You need to get out more berwyn foodie. MANY places will set a limit on the number of high alcohol beers a patron can order, just to avoid liability issues. A two beer limit is fairly typical in my experience. (I don’t care how big your friend is – knocking back 4 or 5 glasses of 120 minute IPA or World Wide stout is just a bad idea – in any event, what would you expect the restaurant to do? Have separate rules for men and women? large people and small people? White people and black people?)

      I won’t make any excuses about your food experience. It’s unfortunate when anyone has the sort of experience you had regarding the appetizer plate. Unfortunately, that kind of mistake can happen anywhere (especially if this was a busy night for TJ’s), but that’s no excuse, and at the very least the staff should have checked to see if you still wanted the appetizer order once they realized their mistake.

      Personally, I’ve never had a bad experience at TJ’s, but in my experience, any place can have an off night, no matter how good it is most of the time (especially if it’s a busy evening and the palce is slammed). Just something to possibly keep in mind if you ever want to think about giving TJ’s another try (though it sounds as if you probably won’t).

  3. THIS PLACE WAS HORRIBLE!!!! The service was really bad and the hostess, I guess, who greeted us had an attitude and was rude ( I think she was the owner’s wife). The waitress was even worse and sub par considering the prices they charged. I had to clean my silverware in my glass of water and the table was dirty.

    As for the food, not one of us in our party, had anything good to say about the food and the roll that my sandwich was served on, tasted day old. This meal was suppose to set the tone for a memorable evening for us and it turned out to ruin it for us.

    Last but not least, there was an incident there with some customers and a guy (I guess the owner) acted like a real jerk to the customers who were regulars and they ended up leaving.


    1. Hello DT;

      We are so sorry you had a less than stellar experience at TJ’s.

      We pride ourselves on service and quality that is aligned within our price point.

      Our most expensive menu item is just $13.25 and the majority of our menu items are priced under ten bucks. Perhaps you were looking for more of a special occasion restaurant than the more casual pub atmosphere of TJs Restaurant & Drinkery.

      Our rolls come from the famed LeBus Bakery of Manayunk. Not only have we never had a complaint about them, many guests rave about the quality of LeBus bread.

      BTW, “the owner’s wife” is also the owner.



  4. I’m definitely considered a “regular” there and I must say- Stacy is a fantastic bartender! Whenever they switch the taps over, I just ask her to pick something and she never disappoints. She’s always helpful & courteous, in general- she’s super fantastic!!!

    And, Scott & Kevin aren’t so bad either :)

  5. Great bar food. Beers are great, but be careful with alot of them one equals about 10 miller lites and if you have a few of them you can get cut off or not be able to drive. Nice bar crowd, friendly staff.
    not crazy about the decor, I’d like the flying pig decor better but you can’t do much with a bar in a strip mall (albeit a very classy strip mall).

  6. Surprisingly all around good, food, drinks, service. Family event, inlaws, sister, her husband, their two-year old, my ten-year-old. Very good atmosphere. Everyone’s food was well-prepared, fresh ingredients, right temperature, attractively presented. I’d call it comfort food, as a compliment, but it would still satisfy sophisticated restaurant-goers. It was one of the best selections of beers, with great ones on tap, that I’ve seen anywhere in the broader Philly area. Try the flights! This was a great find for us, and we expect to go back regularly.

  7. Went to TJ’s on a whim on Saturday night after a long (12 hour) day at work. Was happy to find one of my favorite beers available, Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. While drinking my beer I was able to watch 2 different games. After that beer I let the Scott the bartender pick my next 2 beers. He asked what styles I preferred and picked 2 great choices. I also ate the boneless wings off the late-night menu. It was the perfect amount of food for the late hour, and they were delicious. It was the perfect end to a long day! I would recommend TJ’s to everyone!

  8. We have been here a bunch of times. The food is wonderful,and the beer selection is awesome. The kids Love the mac and Cheese. I would recommend this place to anyone.

  9. Went there for the first time a few weeks ago with the wife and kiddies. Was blown away by the beer selection. I had something that was on a draught special and a Voodoo Love Child. Both were excellent, as was the food. My wife was a little unhappy with the ‘slow’ service (that’s a COMPLIMENT by the way. Trust me, we’ve been wed 15 years…). My only gripe is probably caused by the great state of Pennsylvania’s arcane liquor laws. We had to leave in a rush and I couldn’t take my unfinished beer (in a 22oz bottle, I asked for a cork) home with me. I thought you could purchase beer to go from bars in PA. Great place.

  10. I had a dish here a few weeks ago … chicken breasts in a framboise sauce, with mashed potatoes, and carrots … sounds kind of generic but literally it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten … seriously. The amount of raspberry flavor with the chicken was just right, a fork alone could cut my chicken, and the potatoes were homemade … and all real. No pretentions here, no attitude here … just good food, good service, and awesome beer selection. I like the bar side of the restaurant, the TVs, and the sofas.

  11. Gentlemen – may I applaud your decision to be “SMOKE FREE” on Saturday nights beginning March 1st. While it is intended to be a temporary condition, I am confident it will be extended in time as well as days.

  12. We love TJ’s…have been there for dinner many times and have taken friends with us…they love it too! A great beer selection and everything we have tried on the menu is delicious! Wait staff is always attentive and friendly. We’re so lucky to have this reliably yummy restaurant in our neighborhood! Love that there is no smoking in the dining room and it’s quite separate from the bar area, so it’s quieter. Everyone should check TJ’s out…you will not regret it.

  13. Matt must be a hard person to please. Scott is one of the best bartenders in the area at one of the best places in the area. I am at TJ’s often and I can guarantee you that 99% of the people enjoy Scott and his customer service skills. Although, if you are arguing about the chicken cheesesteak coming back on the menu, I will agree with you there. As far as losing 3 people who know you, it’s probably for the better.

  14. Okay, since there are clearly strong views on both sides of the isle here, TJ’s is going to do our own marketing experiment. Beginning in March, TJ’s will introduce “Smoke Free Saturday Nights” This will answer the questions none of us have answers for…

    1-Will smokers feel inconvenienced by having to go outside to smoke or will they just go to another establishment?

    2-Are there truly enough non-smkers to make up the difference of business lost.

    In two or three months of this test market we should have a clear answer to all the unknowns. I’ll be happy to share the results with anyone interested.

  15. This why this is the impossible debate. The opinions on both sides are so incredible strong there is no way to make everyone happy. As a business it is a lose-lose.

  16. Thank you for clearing up the issue – MANAGEMENT & OWNERS smoke – so until you are forced to ban smoking by law do not look for a abr with no ashtrays. MMMMMM. It is now clear to the general public.

  17. Have you figured out the oppurtunity cost of the guests who won’t be back, the bad word of mouth and the potential guests who will never come in? I would bet it’s more than 30%. It’s your business, run it they way you want, but I agree with papadick. Who cares that the staff smokes… let them go out back by the dumpster…

  18. Unfortunately Papadick about 30% of our bar clientele smoke, as well as more than half of our staff, management and ownership, hence the debates. The debates always boil down to one thing, if we were to ban smoking on our own, we would basically be telling 30% of our bar business to go somewhere else. And that would make it very difficult to pay the mortagage. So, when the state ban goes into effect it will be a level playing field for all.

  19. T&J – If you are for a ban then take the Bull by the horns and make your establishment 100% smoke free. Stop trying to be all things to all people and take a stand for what you say you believe in.

  20. RE: Change the Smoke;
    The smoking debate is constantly going on here at TJ’s. Especially each time we hear that the PA senate can’t come to an agreement. Well unfortunatly neither can we. So in the meantime our bar area will remain smoking and our dining room will remain non-smoking.

    We are fairly confident that will be a statewide smoking ban soon. And we are all for it.

  21. the smoke needs to go. you guys changed the menu to be healthy (i.e. fries) but yet you won’t change your smoking policy. smoking and second hand smoke are not healthy. please change it.

  22. T & J, I had one of the worst experiences at your bar in my life. I think Scott the bartender needs a few lessons in customer service. I would like to contact the owner regarding his unacceptable behavior but I cannot find any contact information for him/her. Please let me know how I can get in contact with you

    Until we can resolve this issue myself and at least 3 other regulars will not be returning.

  23. Lori;
    Many guests have lamented on the absence of the Cajun Chicken Alfredo. So much so that it is now available at any time upon request. Just let your server know and we will be happy to oblige.
    T & J

  24. Lori;
    Many guests have lamented on the loss of the Cajun Chicken Alfredo. So much so that it is now available at any time upon request. Let your server know and we will be happy to oblige.
    T & J

  25. My husband and I go to TJ’s at least once a week. Obviously we love it. The beer selection is unbeatable and for the most part, the servers are very friendly and helpful. The food is great but they have been changing the menu a lot lately and we miss the cajun chicken alfredo! Other than that, we highly reccommend this place to anyone, especially beer lovers.

  26. Wow! What a turn around. We hadn’t eaten here in a while. It used to be kid central. That has all changed. They re-did the dining, took the kids games out and updated the menu. Upscale specials and paninis, little neck clams and dinner entrees cooked with beer. I never thought about cooking with beer. We spilt Hop Devil Clams, I had the Chipotle Framboise Chicken and my wife had the Tilapia with Munich Lager Beurre Blanc. We spilt the stout brownie sundae. Really creative and very tasty. We will definitely add this to our list of places to go back to again.

  27. Best place in or near Paoli to get a good beer and great food. My wife and I have never had a bad meal there. Their chicken cheesesteaks are incredible. Great atmosphere, not a fan of smoke(just in bar area), but it is only bad when it is really crowded, which is usually Friday happy hour. Good selection of plasma tv’s. It is a little pricey if you like to drink, but that in turn keeps the clientele in check. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good place to go.

  28. My wife and I have eaten at TJs a few times and have different opinions. I am big beer snob and love the selection. We are originally from the west coast and it is great to see craft beers from my old home both on tap and in bottle. My wife doesn’t drink beer often. The food has been ok. I like it better than my wife though we haven’t tried too many things off of the new menu. My one major gripe and the reason I took time to write this review is that the place is unacceptably smoky. The bar is unbearable and it drifts into the non-smoking dining area. The entrance is near the bar so there is really no escaping it. I’ve stopped by on my way home from work a few times just to pick up a six pack to go from their excellent selection and in the short few minutes there end up smelling like an ashtray. Being a beer lover I would go to this place far more often. Maybe the new HVAC will help.

  29. Several months ago friends of mine who moved to Paoli introduced me to TJs. All I can say is WOW!!! I currently live in the city and didn’t know that great beer bars like TJs were out on the Main Line (I’ve also discovered the Flying Pig and TND). The selection was fantastic from Belgians to unique craft brews. The tap rotation is good and they always keep it interesting. The last time I was in I had a Speakeasy Double Daddy, Duchesse de Bourgogne, Bell’s 2 Hearted Ale and a Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout. As for the food I’ve only had the wings and they were good, but could have used a little more spice. Overall if you’re a beer lover you can’t go wrong. With Tjs, Theresa’s Next Door and The Flying Pig I just might have to move to the Main Line.

  30. Having always wanted to be part of a “Cheers” type of environment, TJ’s is absolutely the closest you will ever find to it.

    I moved into Paoli in 06 and fell in love with TJ’s right away. The staff there is incredibly friendly and food is what it should be for the type of restaurant it is. The beer selection is unbeatable and the nightly events they host are always worth going to.

    If you go to TJ’s for the first time, spend an hour there, and leave not knowing someone new, something is wrong with you. Jeff, Scott, Kristen, Staci and the rest of the crew… love them all!

  31. We ate a TJ’s twice now in the last month and we have to agree with the re-review! My husband is a beer lover and considers himself an expert and he adores the beer selection. He was so happy to have an Achele 8…significant for beer lovers! We have tried many of the food selections as well, Wings Rock! Burgers and fries are tip top! I had the veggie pasta the first trip and it was good and I had the chicken with steamed veggies the second trip and that was really good!

    I am impressed! After dinner we ventured into the bar area and really enjoyed the crowd and Quizzo on thursday nights! It is a bit smokey but non-smokers like us always think that bars are smokey!

    I would 100% recommend this great local place!

  32. We appreciate the re-review. As you can tell we certainly listen to all comments and we are constantly striving to give a better experience to all guests. The burgers and fries were changed specifically from the original review on this site.

    The HVAC is also being updated shortly. It will exchange and filter the air in the bar with fresh air from outside ten times every hour.

    As for the charge for the kecthup…that was clearly a mistake on someone’s part. We do appologize. Some of our sauces containing beer are quite expensive to make and we do charge a nominal fee for them. However, ketchup is not one of them. We have made sure all staff understand there is not a charge for ketchup.

  33. I eat at TJ’s more often than anywhere else these days. Yes, it’s mostly due to it’s close proximity to my house but I think overall it is a great local bar/restaurant and wish there were more like it. The food menu is solid and extensive and they continue to improve on their beer list, offering tons of different local, regional and imported craft beer along with the usual BudMillerCoors.

    The service is usually very good, although at times there can be some lapses. I’m not sure I would classify it as any worse than a simmilarly styled eatery. What I will say they do better than anyone is listen to their customers. As you can see by the postings by employees in this thread, they clearly care and want to do right by their customers. I think anyone who complains on a website ought to at least have the courtesy to the owners to complain in person first and see if they are willing to make it right. It’s too easy these days to walk out the door peeved, sound off on a website and never let the restaurant know in person how they can improve.

    Overall it has a great local flavor (god I hate chains!!) and I hope the gang over there stays in business for many years to come.

  34. TJ’s is our family’s favorite restaurant! My Wife and I can relax and our two boys love the kids menu and the crane game. The bar is fun, the wait staff is very attentive and we love the food. It’s nice that we’re recognized as regulars- that doesn’t happen at a chain restaurant.
    I’ve only stayed in the bar area a couple of times with friends and it’s a great neighborhood bar with an awesome beer selection.

  35. I have been employed at TJ’s for one week and so far I can see a steady dedication to customer service. The owners are constantly present and have been ready to assist each employee whenever a need arises. These two (T & J) are truly focused on their product and the atmosphere of their estabishment. I can sympathize with those who might not see this as a family-friendly eatery, but as far as a lunch/late night spot this place has great beers, a huge menu and a loyal staff who are willing to go out of their way to ensure each patron has a good experience. If your enjoy quality beer and tasty food you’ll love it.

  36. I wish that there were a website where i could rate the job performance of all the people who came down so hard on myself, and the rest of the staff at TJ’s. I wonder how they would stack up against high expectations in such a competitive market.

    I don’t expect everyone to understand what goes on at TJ’s. But I would like to set the record straight. In my 10+ years of restaurant experience i have never worked with a more competent staff. At times we are understaffed, at times the bar will get crowded and noisy, at times i can be inattentive. What everyone needs to understand is that every time we see something that doesn’t work, we fix it. from hiring new staff, to changing prices, from new menus, to installing ceiling fans,air conditioners, and fresh air vents. For three years now Terri and Jeff have worked along side all of us to constantly mold TJ’s into a better place to eat, drink, and play.

    To everyone of our customers that we have lost I am sorry. There is no excuse for poor service. I would like to invite anyone who ever felt slighted at TJ’s to my bar on a Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday night. I’ll buy you a drink and we can talk about how to make things better. Maybe you’ll meet some people who are really fun to be around. And to those customers that I’ve been lucky enough to have for the last three years i say thank you. Working for Jeff and Terri, with this staff, and for all of you, has made it easy to go to work for the last three years. Come in and get to know us…you’ll see for yourself.

  37. I have had the good fortune to have stepped foot in nearly every state in this country and every continent as well, and it is always a good feeling when you arrive in the place you consider home. At home things are familiar enough for you to be comforting, but there is always that opening for excitement. People know you at home, and you can always get the food or drink that you enjoy. TJ’s is part of what makes this area home for me. The second time I ever stepped foot into that place the staff knew my name. By my third visit Scott the Bartender had my beer waiting for me on the bar.

    I have made many new friends and gotten involved in plenty of fun activities simply because I chose to step foot in that establishment rather then some other locale. TJ’s gets busy enough to be exciting, but not so busy that you are neglected by the staff or you are forced to stand elbow to elbow with strangers. From Free Texas Holdem’ (the originators by the way), to Quizzo, to Movie night there is always some activity to keep you occupied. The owners are inviting and open to all comments and suggestions and legitimately care about there clientele, and actively re-invest into their business. The bartenders Garland, and Katie, led by head bartender Scott are effiecient and make every effort to take care of the guests, and are a big reason of why so many people come back. The wait staff: Lori, Heather, and Stacey are gracious and very, very good at what they do.

    The best part about TJ’s besides the atmosphere is that they do not pretend to be something they are not. The beer list they offer is diverse, very well priced, and enough to put most other establishments to shame. I have never had a bad meal there and that is because I do not walk in expecting to eat at Le Bec Fin. If they could T&J should franchise the business and put one in every locale they could find, the only problem would be I doubt if they could replicate the staff and wonderful patrons they have at the original. I recommend this place to all my friends and I’m very grateful that such a place exists.

  38. A top rate neighborhood bar/restuarant. I have been frequenting the establishment for 2/3 years now and every year management does what it takes to make TJs a better place for all who patronize it. It is not too often you will find owners treat you like friends and not customers. Thank you, T and J. The menu is probably the most extensive, varied and unique of any ‘bar/restaurant’ in the area. Simple bar grub or an elegant dinner, you can find it at TJs. I know many complain about the smoke in the bar area. Please remember…..ITS A BAR!! If you can’t deal with it, move to Delaware.

  39. Our growth has apparently outpaced our service and we are in the process of resolving that. We have hired an additional line cook and are currently interviewing to hire a hostess and two additional servers.

    As we continue to build TJ’s into a great neighborhood spot we hope the feedback (both good and bad) will continue as that is the only way we can improve. One of us is almost always on hand at TJ’s for some constructive criticism on how we can better serve our guests. We encourage your input and recomendations. Especially when it comes to our beer menu, currently up to 101 varieties and 23 drafts. Many new local craft brews as recommended by a reviewer at Beer Advocate.

    Thanks again,

  40. I’m normally very understanding and tend not to come down hard on wait staffs or restaurants in gneral, in this case its deserved…
    TJ’s is noisy & loud, the food and service were way below average. Our whole group of 8, most of whom are in the restaurant business were unhappy and will not be returning.
    They have a nice location, a pity the can’t get it together. I hope they do….

  41. My boyfriend and I have been to TJ’s many times, as we moved into the area a few years ago. All I have to say is thank god! I have to respectfully disagree with the two earlier reviews. We have had nothing but great times. The food has always been good (the hot beef is awesome and the Reviewer is right; the “loaded fries” are the way to go!) They have a great selection of draft beers and recently have added a ton of bottle beers – my man is in heaven!
    The staff recognize us when we come in which is great. I would definitely recommend this place!

  42. Like Janet, I will not be eating there again either. Food was very greasy and either over-cooked or prepared using oil that had not been changed in some time. Good place to recommend to people you don’t like.

  43. The service was VERY slow, during an off peak time. The food was okay, but not worth the wait. Not family friendly at all. The entrance thru the smokey bar was a turn-off. I won’t eat there again.

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