BJ's Seafood

For owner Brian Johnson, service and his special sauce keep customers coming back


Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 3:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 3:23 p.m.

The garlic blue crabs and shrimp, snow crab leg clusters, corn and potatoes and other food items sold at BJ's Seafood in southeast Gainesville draw customers from far away who have gotten hooked on the flavor of the food and the service at the restaurant.

The carry-out-only restaurant, located at 922 SE Williston Road in a plaza that also houses the Star Christian Academy and several churches, is often busy with customers who patronize the business when their taste buds scream for the flavor owner Brian "BJ" Johnson serves up at the business.

"The main thing we do here is make sure our flavor is consistent every time," said Johnson, 43, who has owned the business since October 2012. "People come here because they like the way our food tastes and we have to make sure our food tastes the same way every time."

And to be sure, it is the flavor of the food and the excellent customer service that keeps customers coming back for more. In fact, several people who don't live in Gainesville said they make a point to come to the business every time they are in or near Gainesville.

Catrina Southall and Michelle Adkins, both of Orlando, said they make it a point to get a half-tray of garlic crabs and shrimp every time they travel through Gainesville.

"I like the excellent customer service here, and whenever I come in here, the owner is always courteous and polite," Southall said. "More than that though, the crabs are magnificent and the sauce is to die for. A lot of people can cook crabs, but nobody can make sauce like BJ's." Adkins agreed.

"The sauce and the service are above par, and it is a black, family-owned business, and I like to support those kinds of businesses," Adkins said. "The service is excellent, but the sauce and the food are even better."

Joe Ruby of Melrose said he has been using the restaurant since he found out about it several weeks ago. He purchased garlic blue crabs and shrimp at the restaurant Saturday after doing some shopping in Gainesville and said he will be back this weekend to buy some snow crab legs because the business had already sold out of them by the time he got there that afternoon.

"The service is good and they are real friendly," Ruby said. "The prices are good and the seafood is real fresh with a good flavor."

Johnson said customers can use the BJ's app on their Android and iPhone cell phones to make orders and call-in orders are welcome, too. He also provides catering for family reunions and other events if he is given at least a week's notice.

The business accepts cash, debit and credit cards.

Johnson, who attended Riviera Beach Suncoast High School in Palm Beach County, moved to Gainesville when he was 18 years old. He said he enjoys serving his customers and appreciates all of the support the community has given him.

"We struggled at first, especially during the first seven months to a year, but after that, things started coming together and we started doing better things and getting better crabs. We learned how to better grade the crabs, perfected our sauce and treated people how they wanted to be treated."

Johnson said although his food tastes great, customer service is key to the success of the business.

"We are not perfect and we make mistakes sometimes, but we correct our mistakes with a smile and by doing whatever it takes to make the customer happy, within reason," he said. "We respect and appreciate all of our customers."

Hours of operation are from 2-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 2-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The phone number is 352-519-5585.

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