PJ’s in the running for state’s best steak
by Elane Jones
Jul 30, 2013 | 3009 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jerome McClendon said cooking a good steak is an art-form and one that the folks at PJ’s strives to improve upon on a daily basis. – Photo by: Elane Jones.
Jerome McClendon said cooking a good steak is an art-form and one that the folks at PJ’s strives to improve upon on a daily basis. – Photo by: Elane Jones.
When Patricia McClendon, along with the help of her husband, Jerome, opened PJ’s Restaurant in the Pineywoods community of Walker County in August 1980, she had no way of knowing what the future would hold, but according to the McClendons, things have turned out pretty well over the past 33 years.

So well in fact, PJ’s was recently nominated as one of the top 95 restaurants from across the state of Alabama that is participating in a statewide steak cooking competition being sponsored this summer by the Alabama Cattlemens Association.

The McClendons received a letter on July 20 informing them that PJ’s had been nominated to participate in the “Alabama’s Best Steak” competition, which will run through Aug. 30, 2013.

“It’s an honor to have been nominated for this competition. We have served a lot of steaks over the years and a lot of folks have said some good things about our steaks, but I’d never have guessed something like this would happen,” Jerome McClendon said. “Cooking a good steak is really an art-form, onethat we strive to improve upon on a daily basis.”

McClendon said the restaurant, which is known worldwide for its down-home southern food and hospitality, didn’t start out serving steaks initially but added them to the menu in later years, and the rest is history.

“We’ve become pretty famous for our steaks now as well; I guess you could say that over the years we have put this little community of Pineywoods on the map one plate at a time,” McClendon said. “We have people from all of the world stopping by to get a bite to eat, from California to Romania and from Canada to South Africa, simply because they’ve heard about PJ’s from someone else, and that’s very rewarding.”

McClendon said being named “Alabama’s Best Steak” would be a bigger honor.

“It takes a lot of long hours and hard work to run a restaurant, but something like this makes all those long hours and hard work worthwhile,” McClendon said. “When you get a letter saying you’ve been nominated to the top 95 out of the hundreds of restaurants from across our state, you know you’ve done something right and somebody noticed.”

You can cast your vote for PJ’s Restaurant in the “Alabama’s Best Steak” competition by visiting www.bamabeef.org and clicking the “Alabama’s Best Steak” icon, or you can text the word BEEF to 20566.

On Aug. 16, a “Sizzling 16” — the top four vote getters from the North, Central, South and Gulf Coast regions — will be announced. Voters will have one week to vote for their favorite restaurant.

This process will be repeated again the following week in order to determine the “Fiery 4.” Then a team of judges will judge the steak for flavor, tenderness and juiciness.

“We’re proud to have been nominated in the first place, but to take top honors would be absolutely wonderful,” McClendon said. “So we wanted to let all of our customers know that PJ’s is taking part in the “Alabama’s Best Steak” competition, and we hope they will cast a vote for us.”