BASCOM - A conservative start in preparation for long-term success is the philosophy of Andy Brickner at Bascom's new restaurant, PJ's Brickhouse.
Brickner, who owns the restaurant with his fianc, Staci Jones, and her father, Paul Jones, said the establishment has been busy since it opened April 19.
"Everybody wants to come out and see what's new," he said. "But not much is new, really."
He credits previous owner Steve Swander with the beautiful building.
"He did a great job building the place so I don't take much credit for it," Brickner said.
Formerly Snakesters, the building was empty for three years before Brickner and the Joneses decided to open a new restaurant.
"I knew it was here and I knew it was a really solid building and everybody seemed to want it (a new restaurant), so I just decided to go for it," he said. "A lot of people were ready for it to come back. I think if was one of those things that maybe they didn't realize what they had until it was gone."
He said he is depending on the support of the community where he has lived for 20-some years, although he had never really thought about running a restaurant.
"I wouldn't call it a dream," he said. "You always dream of owning something when you're younger. I didn't think would be restaurant."
A 2001 graduate of Hopewell-Loudon High School, he graduated in 2006 from Ohio Northern University with a bachelor of science degree in industrial technology. He is working on completing his master's degree from Bowling Green State University in the same field.
"I always thought I would be a manager somewhere," he said. "I guess in a different sense, I am."
Because he has no previous experience, Brickner said he is tapping into the experience of a friend, Dan Schmidutz, who has 12 years of experience working for various food establishments.
Schmidutz is the cook and assists in running the business.
"That was one of the main factors when I started looking at doing this," he said. "He makes sure I don't screw up too much around here."
He said he concentrated on giving his 22 employees the hours they wanted so he can retain the people he hired.
"One great thing about it is all the people working here have been doing really well so far," he said. "And the help from family and friends has been unbelievable."
Before opening to the public, the staff did a few test runs with family and friends.
"We did a number of those," he said. "Just from the first day to the fifth day was a night-and-day difference."
The restaurant offers pizza, subs, spaghetti, alfredo, soups, salads, and a variety of sandwiches, including hot dogs and side dishes.
"Nothing too fancy," Brickner said. "Just a bunch of different stuff that we've liked from wherever we've gone."
Sandwich and meal prices are in the $5-$7 range. Hours are 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. -6 p.m. Sunday.
In the future, he said hours probably will be extended.
"We want to get everything under control first and stop making little mistakes," he said. "We're going to try to do lunch sometime this summer."
At the same time, he said weekend breakfasts might be added.
"We want to get everything straight before we have a big grand opening," he said. "I'd rather be around for the long haul. If we don't jump into some miraculous start, that's OK with me."