Jonny B's Brickhouse gives back to community, uses local items
Jonny B’s Brickhouse offers wood-fired pizzas, lavash, traditional and boneless wings, homemade pizza rolls, salads, burgers, wraps, desserts and tap beer among other items.
Jon Beyer was an aspiring musician who went to school for recording engineering and worked for restaurants to support his music habit, but it was never enough full-time work to pay the bills.
“I found myself working in restaurants a lot. I really enjoyed the work,” Beyer said. “I eventually was managing parts of restaurants and then the entire restaurant and bar.”
After he had some experience working in restaurants, he decided he wanted to own his restaurant since he would have job security working for himself. He eventually attended North Dakota State University for business management and took all the business courses for the degree before dropping out as soon as he felt he had all the knowledge he thought he needed to operate a business.
“I figured if I’m going to work for myself I didn’t need a piece of paper to tell me what I know,” he said. “It would have cost me another $20,000 to finish all the generals.”
Beyer eventually opened Jonny B’s Brickhouse in December 2015 with his business partner, Tom Schultz. Beyer eventually bought out the restaurant and purchased the building from Schultz but the two remain partners for the restaurant’s frozen pizza business — Brickhouse Frozen Products LLC.
“Tom was very integral in the design of the restaurant and helping to make sure we got everything set where it needed to be for everything to be functional and to make money and work,” he said. “I truly do owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tom Schultz.”
Jonny B’s offers wood-fired pizzas, lavash, traditional and boneless wings, homemade pizza rolls, salads, burgers, wraps, desserts and tap beer among other items.
Beyer said the Jonny B’s Brickhouse was opened downtown because the area needed to be revitalized. He said the two-block area in downtown Jamestown had about six or seven vacant spots when the restaurant opened.
“Restaurants are the kind of businesses that create foot traffic, which is crucial for other businesses to survive,” he said.
Now, there is not a single open spot in the two-block area of downtown Jamestown.
“Everyone has filled in nicely over the last five, six years which is really cool to see,” Beyer said. “I think downtown had started with the (Hansen) Arts Park, and those kinds of projects have been really nice to rebuild traffic to the businesses around downtown Jamestown to keep it alive.”
Beyer enjoys old items so taking a building built in the 1890s and remodeling it added a unique look to it. The building also includes a garage door in the front.
“It feels open where in the summertime if you are in here having a drink with some pizza with our front garage door open it really does feel like you are still enjoying the outdoors as well,” he said.
Having the restaurant downtown makes Beyer feel more like he is part of the community.
“There is a camaraderie amongst the other restaurants and businesses in this area,” he said. “I like being a part of that camaraderie. It just seems like there is more of a mom-pop niche type environment in this area.”
One of the reasons Jonny B’s is successful is because it gives back to the community, Beyer said. The business sponsors youth sports events, offers winter coupons and even has the Jonny B’s Book Buddy Program to get children to read by giving coupons for a free kid’s pizza to teachers in the surrounding area.
“I think that everybody sees that and supports us a lot because of the support we give back,” he said.
Jonny B’s holds trivia night on Tuesdays and has live entertainment on Thursdays.
“We like to showcase local talent,” Beyer said. “We occasionally bring in comedians every now and then from Valley City, Fargo, even nationally touring comedians I’ve had come down here and do shows as well.”
He said Jonny B’s also holds events like tap takeovers and mug parties, which is when representatives from local breweries to Jamestown talk about beer with customers and showcase their products.
The restaurant also offers delivery services.
Beyer said unique food items include lavash, homemade pizza rolls, spicy pickle wraps, boneless chicken wings and even wood-fired smores. He said the pizza rolls are similar to a giant pizza egg roll, the chicken wings are marinated in buttermilk and made in a special blend of flour and seasoning and the smores come out “perfectly” when cooked in a giant wood-fire pizza oven.
“As far as pizza, there’s a lot of pizza in the world, but I challenge you to find one better than Jonny B’s anywhere in Jamestown,” he said.
The restaurant has 24 types of tap beer and does not carry any of the traditional beers like Coors Light or Bud Light.
“But I do have beers that are very similar to those beers but they come from breweries around the area,” he said. “There are very few that aren’t directly from North Dakota, Minnesota, immediate neighboring states. We definitely try to support local every chance we get.”
As part of supporting local, the restaurant even buys all of its produce in Jamestown from Russ Davis Wholesale, Beyer said.
“We have fresher product that way and also we are supporting a business that is operating here in Jamestown that has an actual building in Jamestown and hires people here to work,” he said.
Jonny B’s customer base includes people in the surrounding area. He said when tournaments are held in Jamestown, the restaurant is busy.
The frozen pizza side of the business was originally started because Beyer wanted to keep more people on staff in the afternoons in case it got busy. He wanted something that employees could produce during the times when it was not busy.
After the frozen pizzas became popular, a truck was purchased to take pizzas to other businesses in the surrounding area, and Beyer started building routes.
He said Schultz was very helpful in getting the frozen pizza side of the business started. Schultz operates Brickhouse Frozen Products LLC.
Beyer said the labor was a real challenge for the last couple of years but it’s coming around. He said he has a really good crew and has not seen much turnover lately.
“I upped the payscale to keep people here when I realized how hard it was to hire new people,” he said. “One of the ways I feel we have been trying to combat that is by having a good camaraderie amongst our staff. … I think people seeing that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help them be successful at their job as well as their life has really helped combat that labor shortage problem.”
He also said rising food costs is another challenge.
“The last two years has been pretty rough with food costs,” he said. “Literally food costs doubled in the last year.”
Jonny B's Brickhouse
215 1st Ave. S
Hours: 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday