Business is booming.

Idaho Falls couple open new restaurant, bar and performance venue

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Ritchie Alan and JD Ferguson are the owners of AJ’s Place, a restaurant, bar and nightclub at 1560 Lindsay Boulevard in Idaho Falls. Take a look inside in the video above. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.

BIZ BUZZ

IDAHO FALLS

New restaurant and bar in eastern Idaho gives local acts a place to perform

dance floor and stage
The dance floor and stage inside AJ’s Place in Idaho Falls. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS – An iconic Idaho Falls building that was once the home of a popular bar and live concert venue is back open with a new occupant.

AJ’s Place opened in April at 1560 Lindsay Boulevard with owners Ritchie Alan and JD Henderson. Over the last year, they’ve been focused on turning it into a venue similar to what it was originally.

During the 1960s, the Skyway Bar, the original occupant of the 10,000-square-foot space, was a popular nightclub where locals involved in the local rock band scene came to see their favorite bands perform.

Mac ‘n Kelly’s Pub & Grill was the most recent occupant of the building. It closed in 2022.

RELATED | Biz Buzz: Family-oriented pub and grill opens in Idaho Falls

With a new coat of paint and a revamped stage with a modern sound system and bar area, Alan and Henderson tell EastIdahoNews.com the building now resembles an old-fashioned night club and is equipped to handle a variety of performances.

“Back in the day, 95% of the (activity in this place) was music. We wanted the ability to have burlesque shows, open mics, comedies. We’re working with a promoter to get MMA fighting in here,” Alan says. “Our biggest focus is giving people a place to come out and enjoy not just music, but shows of any kind.”

The duo spent $12,000 on a sound system so they could make it available to live performers at the venue. They also offer a private waiting room with stage access where performers can go to change clothes or sit in-between sets.

The restaurant offers burgers and other items made just the way Ritchie remembers as a kid.

“Greasy cheeseburgers with real bacon and sauces — we try and build the best burger we can,” he says.

The business seems to be catching on. They’ve hosted live shows to a packed house every weekend since they opened, and they’re thrilled to make the space available to the community.

“We’re trying to let everyone in on what we’re trying to do and let them know that we have this venue,” says Alan.

“Today, I got a phone call to book our first wedding here in August,” Henderson adds.

Take a look at the venue in the video above.

seating area
Seating area in the bar and restaurant at AJ’s Place. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

The business is a pet project for the Idaho Falls couple, and it’s custom fit to their individual backgrounds. Alan graduated from culinary school years ago, which he’d never used, and has performed in a band for many years.

Henderson was part-owner of JJ’s Bar inside the Bonneville Hotel in downtown before it closed and also sings.

It was shortly after retiring that Alan learned the Lindsay Boulevard location was available.

“She was planning to go back to work ,and I always wanted to (use my culinary background), so I thought, ‘Why not just combine the two?’” says Alan.

And it’s become a venture the whole family is involved in. Many of Henderson’s kids help out and serve customers throughout the week.

Although the couple is grateful for the business’s success, their main priority is helping people out however they can. They don’t charge local bands to perform, and if customers want food cooked a certain way or want a tweak that’s not on the menu, Alan says they’re willing to do that.

The duo are planning a grand opening in the near future.

“We’ve had so many acts booking up our time, so we haven’t really had a chance to celebrate. But we hope to do that soon,” says Henderson.

AJ’s Place is open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday with an 11 a.m. opening time Friday through Sunday.

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Read More: Idaho Falls couple open new restaurant, bar and performance venue

2024-07-11 02:13:00

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