PJW Restaurant Group, the parent company of P.J. Whelihan’s Pub, has named Jim Fris as its new CEO.
Fris, the company’s current chief operating officer, starts immediately. He takes over CEO duties from company founder Bob Platzer, the visionary behind the company’s current concepts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In 1983, Platzer and his wife opened a 14-stool bar called Platz’s Inn in Lehighton, Pa. It eventually morphed into the regionally known bar concept P.J. Whelihan’s, which has grown to 17 locations in the region. The company has added new concepts along the way including The ChopHouse, Treno Pizza Bar and craft beer-centric The Pour House.
Platzer, who grew the brand to 22 units, will take on the new role of executive chairman.
“I feel very fortunate to have someone of Jim’s caliber as my successor,” Platzer said in a statement. “The time is right as our foundation is strong, built on decades of successes, and our operations are well-tuned. I am proud to turn over CEO duties to Jim, who not only has the expertise, but also has a deep understanding and respect for our company culture.”
Fris opened 15 locations for PJW while COO. In his new role, he’ll be focusing “on elevating the group through new stores, strategic investments in current locations, and continued innovation to ensure the best guest experience,” the company said.
Among the new concepts he’ll be shepherding are Central Taco and Tequila in Westmont, N.J., and ChopHouse Grille. Central Taco, slated to open in December, is an upscale taqueria concept with an emphasis on tequila. ChopHouse Grille, a more casual take on the brand’s ChopHouse concept, is slated to open next year in Exton, Pa.
Fris said it is a privilege to take on the role of CEO.
“It is an exciting time for us,” he said in a statement. “We are continuing to expand the PJW footprint and providing more opportunities for our team to grow. I’m extremely optimistic about our potential.”
PJW Restaurant Group is based in Westmont, N.J. The company’s portfolio includes 17 P.J. Whelihan’s locations in N.J. and Pa.; Three Pour House locations in N.J. and Pa.; Treno in Westmont, N.J., and The ChopHouse in Gibbsboro, N.J. An 18th P.J. Whelihan’s location is slated to open in 2019 in Horsham, Pa.
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