PJW Restaurant Group is marking its 40th anniversary this month, spotlighting PJ Whelihan’s, its flagship and highly successful concept. With 23 PJ Whelihan restaurants spread across Harrisburg, the Poconos, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, and South Jersey regions, alongside three arena locations, the group is showing unwavering momentum.
Founder Bob Platzer’s first restaurant in Lehighton, PA opened in 1983 under the name Platz’s and still thrives today, under the official name PJ Whelihan’s, a tribute to his grandfather Peter Joseph Whelihan.
The heartbeat of the brand lies in its famed wings, a standout offering that’s become synonymous with PJ Whelihan’s success. The brand sells over 10 million fresh, never frozen jumbo wings a year and offers 11 signature sauce options alongside a special featured flavor each season. The return of the beloved Half Price Wing Nite on Tuesdays, exclusively for PJs Pub Club members, has been an instant sensation, reinstating this cherished tradition.
Beyond its acclaimed wings and craft beer, PJ Whelihan’s is celebrated as a neighborhood pub, catering to diverse audiences, from families and sports enthusiasts to happy hour attendees and weekend revelers seeking top-notch entertainment. Each location features state-of-the-art entertainment setups with over 50 televisions, making it the ultimate spot to catch any game.
Since its acquisition by Garnett Station Partners in 2021, PJW Restaurant Group has unveiled an ambitious growth strategy. Three new PJs are slated for 2024 in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, Mays Landing, New Jersey and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. By the close of 2024, the target is 33 restaurants and $150 million in revenue, aiming for a 2.5% same-store increase. Expansion plans for 2025 are set to focus on Delaware, Lehigh, Northampton, and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania.
Each PJ Whelihan’s is deeply entrenched in its local community, starting from its dedicated employees. The group fosters community spirit within its team by prioritizing internal promotions and creating career paths, not just jobs. With four managers serving for over two decades and one employee managing the first PJ Whelihan’s in Lehighton for 32 years, the commitment to its team is evident. Additionally, the organization actively supports over 500 unique charitable organizations through programs like Dine and Donate, sponsorships, and long-standing partnerships with Ronald McDonald House.
“Our success at PJ Whelihan’s hinges on our commitment to being more than just a sports bar. We strive to be a beloved neighborhood pub where anyone can find a welcoming atmosphere, whether craving our famous wings, stopping by for a post-work beer, or enjoying a salad at lunch,” says Jim Fris, CEO of PJW Restaurant Group. “Our team, menu innovation, and strong community ties are the fundamental pillars that have propelled us and will continue to guide our success.”