Jimmy and Ann Green had a dream of living in a place where they could raise their family in a peaceful, small-
town environment. In 2015, they realized their dream when they found P.J.’s Lodge and River Run Restaurant in Norfork.
“We were living in California and looking for a fishing resort that we could purchase and operate,” Jimmy said. “We visited properties across the nation, but when we found P.J.’s we knew we were home.”
When they moved from California to Norfork the Greens had one child, and they have been blessed with two additional children during the past four years. The restaurant and lodge are a true family affair as Ann’s parents, Charlie and Linda Pasquan, and brothers, Andrew and Jim Pasquan are involved with the operation of the property.
“I love being able to do our own thing and raise our children in such a great place,” Ann said. “I’m so proud when I hear people compliment our restaurant. Jimmy and I fell in love in the kitchen, and now we get to work together every day. It’s perfect.”
The beauty of the location is breathtaking and relaxing. The restaurant’s interior has a warmth and welcoming feel that is complemented by an array of windows that supply ample light while framing the natural beauty of the White River.
The menu is a blend of long-time favorites from previous owners, along with items that the Greens added that have proven to be very popular.
My favorite appetizer was P.J.’s Smoked Trout. This smoked rainbow trout is served with gourmet crackers and a signature herbed dip. While the presentation on all dishes at PJ’s is spectacular, this was almost too beautiful to eat. But, I’m glad I did. The flavors topped the aesthetics.
Another favorite is the Bacon Wrapped Quail. The appetizer features four bacon-wrapped quail breasts with P.J.’s secret, bourbon-pepper jelly glaze. Go ahead and order two orders. Trust me.
Ann realized another longtime dream when she added Duck Fat Fries to the menu. Natural-cut fries cooked in duck fat are topped with hickory-smoked bacon, a special seasoning, parmesan cheese and served with a homemade black pepper aioli for dipping. I’m glad Ann accomplished her goal — they were delicious.
If you like seafood be sure to try the Thai Sea Cakes. This P.J.’s creation has the texture of a crab cake, but is a step above as it includes shrimp, scallops, real crab meat and fresh bread crumbs. They are drizzled with PJ’s mildly spicy sesame mayo.
PJ’s is known for its steaks, so I had the Steak au Poivre. The peppercorn encrusted filet mignon topped with creamy flamed brandy peppercorn sauce was packed with flavor and was a steak lover’s fantasy come true!
The Green’s version of Pork Osso Bucco is a mouth watering, fork-tender, 16 oz. braised pork shank with a savory bordelaise mushroom sauce finish. Another hidden gem on the menu is PJ’s Signature Bone-in Pork Chop. This Frenched, bone-in chop is lovingly coated with an apple-citrus brandy reduction. If you are a pork fan, then you won’t go wrong with either of these stunning options.
My favorite entrée was the Blackened Redfish. Jimmy and Ann landed a winner with this dish that features a
fresh, grilled, blackened redfish fillet atop a bed of wild rice and topped with two huge shrimp. It is drizzled with a Creole shrimp cream sauce. I tried to stop eating it, but I simply could not! I’m pretty sure you will have the same issue as it is very, very good.
For dessert I sampled the Peanut Butter Pie and the Six-Layer Coconut Cake. Both of the made-from-scratchtreats did not disappoint. There is just something about a dessert that is made with love and attention to detail.
If you have been looking for a relaxing meal in a beautiful location prepared by people that love each other and what they do, then visit P.J.’s River Run Restaurant.
Dining Recommendations? Contact Rob Roedel at email@example.com