TJ's Burgers, Wings & Pizza expands with dining area in Fruitland

Friday, February 16, 2018 ~ Updated 12:42 AM
A "lumberjack" burger with fries sits beside a Sunshine Chugsuckle IPA on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, at TJ's in Fruitland.
Ben Matthews ~ Southeast Missourian

TJ's Burgers, Wings & Pizza in Fruitland has grown from a carryout and delivery-only restaurant to a full-service dining experience, all within a few months.

On Wednesday, the restaurant marked the official opening of its dining area to meet the demands of a burgeoning clientele.

Fruitland was the site of the first TJ's in Southeast Missouri, and owner Tim Stearns said he opened a second location in Benton, Missouri, at the beginning of February.

Stearns' goal is to have fun with burgers and to be original.

Specialty burgers from the recently expanded menu include The Crazy Sister-In-Law Burger, topped with bacon, pineapple, cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce. The story behind the burger's name began with an idea from a relative.

"I started making burgers, and my sister-in-law asked 'If I give you a burger, will you put it on the menu?'" Stearns said. "So I called it The Crazy Sister-In-Law, and she said 'OK,' then she came up with what she wanted on it."

The PB&B Burger is "monster-sized," according to the menu, and features bacon, American cheese and peanut butter. The Couch Potato Burger is a one-third pound hamburger patty smothered in ham, bacon, pulled pork, "sidewinder fries," Queso cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles and barbecue sauce.

Pizzas are made-to-order as well, with names that will spark the interest with foodies such as The Carnivore, The Works and The Herbivore. Toppings include all the meat-lover favorites that include pepperoni, Italian sausage, sausage, beef, bacon and ham. They also have options to suit vegetarians' taste buds too, such as an all-veggie pizza, along with Italian and house salads. They also have gluten-free options available.

TJ's also offers the Breaded Burger -- made famous in Benton -- that includes a one-third pound beef patty breaded in house-made Italian bread crumbs, topped with American cheese, lettuce and tomato.

"When they try it, they're going to fall in love with it," Stearns said.

Stearns said most of the pizza ingredients are made fresh daily in-house, including dough made from scratch. It's a recipe that took a lot of time to perfect, Stearns said.

"When we started looking at Fruitland, we wanted to come in with our own pizza, and do it right," Stearns said.

After the decision to offer pizza was locked in, Stearns decided to make burgers an option as well. He said they "hit the door running" when they first opened because of burgers being offered as part of the menu.

TJ's also offers on-tap domestic and craft beer, along with chicken wings, sold by the pound, with eight available sauces, Stearns said.

The difference between the two locations is the Fruitland location offers pizza, while the Benton location offers ice cream.

Stearns' brother-in-law came up with the clever menu names and descriptions, he said, and wanted to be original by incorporating puns.

When TJ's first opened Nov. 24 in Fruitland, it became so busy the need for a dining room become obvious, Stearns said.

"I didn't have a dining room in thought," Stearns said. "I had three tables I had put in the lobby, just so people could sit down and wait on their food when they came in," Stearns said. "It got to the point where I couldn't keep people out of them ... so we finally decided it was time."

Stearns said his most popular burger right now is the Bourbon Burger.

"At our Benton location, we sell more Bourbon Burgers than anything," Stearns said.

And for the baseball fans, Stearns said he will definitely have the new audio equipment installed -- with TV's -- by Opening Day.

(573) 388-3632

Pertinent address:

5815 US Highway 61, Suite B

Jackson, Missouri 63755

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