Beachy and casual, yet elegant and tasteful, you can dine inside or enjoy a cool gulf breeze from the palm-laden deck outdoors. Owners Thomas John Smith, (also known as Chef TJ) and Kim Grady-Smith are warm and inviting hosts, and Chef TJ lives up to his reputation as one of the best chefs on the Gulf Beaches, personally overseeing every dish that leaves his kitchen.
Twenty six years ago, the restaurant started as TJ’s Gourmet Pizza. Today, the specialty pizzas include Spinach Ranch Pie, topped with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, imported cheeses and homemade ranch sauce…or the Shrimp and Asparagus Pie, smothered with huge juicy shrimp, garlic and olive oil and a blend of imported cheeses.
Since Chef TJ has expanded the menu, creating classic Italian dishes and tropical local seafood, one of locals’ favorite is the Eggplant Rollatini and according to TJ, if you aren’t a fan of eggplant, you’ve got to try this dish. Stuffed and rolled with spinach, onion and ricotta, smothered in an unbelievable homemade red sauce then baked to perfection. Another favorite is the Gamberoni Basilico, peppercorn seared shrimp nestled in the creamiest pesto you’ve ever tasted. (Hint: the pesto is delectable when dipped with the warm homemade bread).
Whether you’re craving chicken, seafood, veal or pasta, TJ’s offers it in true Italian style. The most popular entree’ on the menu (and made front cover of Best Restaurant magazine) is the Aged Filet Mignonette | Black Angus Beef, pan seared with TJ’s secret and baked to seal in the juicy goodness, leaving meat so tender you can cut it with a butter knife…let’s not forget that it’s topped off with a juicy Lobster Tail, this is no joke!