Business of the Week – BJ’s Burger & Beverage

You help your community thrive when you shop locally!

Be sure to read The Prowers Journal each week when the Lamar Chamber of Commerce
and The Prowers Journal highlight a featured Business of the Week.

This week we are proud to spotlight BJ’s Burger & Beverage
Give them a call at: 719.336-5386

Bob Johnson always knew he would have his name in lights and twenty five years ago, he and his wife Dorothy opened BJ’s Burger & Beverage, at 1510 South Main in Lamar. BJ’s was not their first experience in the drive in restaurant business. For many years, Bob and Dorothy owned Reids Drive In, until they sold that business to what is now the south Loaf ‘n Jug. They also purchased a second restaurant when Bob convinced his friend, Andy Wyatt, to sell him Wyatt’s Tasty Freeze – a restaurant that was located right where we all park our cars, place our orders, and enjoy our burgers under the canopy at BJ’s.

Bob was a true businessman. He learned by doing and believed that with “quality and service you would have all of the business you need.” In 1977, Bob hired a young man named Fred Reale. Fred worked as a fountain boy making drinks and shakes, and learning business skills that would last him a lifetime. He would even debate his boss, turned friend, about which core value was more important for a successful business: quality or service. Both believed that a freshly cooked burger is worth waiting a few extra minutes for.

Fred continued to work for and manage BJ’s (the old Wyatt’s) for Bob and Dorothy when one day Bob asked, “Well, do you think you want to do this for the rest of your life?” That is when the plan was made to purchase the laundry mat, located next door to the small BJ’s, and remodel it into a restaurant. The laundry mat became a new restaurant and the small old Wyatt’s Tasty Freeze became BJ’s drive in island with 20 speaker stands.

When it comes to quality, BJ’s Burger & Beverage is known for having “fast food, fresh.” For several hours before the doors are unlocked, employees begin preparing fresh produce for the day. BJ’s hand slices their lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and even hand grates their cheese. One of the skills that every BJ’s employee learns is how to sort, wash and cook fresh pinto beans to make homemade refried beans. “We don’t take short cuts. When you order your food that is when we make it. We cook nothing ahead of time so your food never sits under a heat lamp,” says owner, Fred Reale.

Service is never a question. Fred’s two long time managers, Brenda Herrera and John Lucero, have worked painstakingly over the years to ensure BJ’s continuing success. The staff is friendly and prepared to cater to the customer – even honoring special requests when possible. Fred believes that it is the quality and the service that keeps his customers loyal. If you are 25 years old or younger, BJ’s is a well-known icon in Lamar.

BJ’s in notorious for their “superburgers”, specialty french fries, and endless fruit and flavor combinations of slushes, freezes and cyclones. They carry a full line of hard ice cream, as well as soft serve for cones, sundaes, shakes and malts. Not to mention their specialty sodas – you’re really missing out if you’ve never tried a Dr. Pepper with marshmallow or cinnamon. BJ’s is well-known for “Dot’s Famous Chili” and their green chili, but Fred is not giving out any secrets.

It was 1988 when BJ’s Burger & Beverage opened their doors to continue their tradition of fast food prepared and delivered with quality and service. Twelve years later, in the spring of 2000, that one time fountain boy and longtime faithful employee, became the owner of BJ’s Burger & Beverage. When Bob handed the keys over to Fred, he was confident that the legacy of BJ’s would continue. Perhaps his goal had something to do with being able to continue to see his name in lights.

BJ’s Burger & Beverage is open 7 days a week from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. 719.336.5386

Filed Under: BusinessBusiness of the WeekcommunityCountyFeaturedLamarProwers County


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