PJ’s Roadhouse opened in October 2021 after its long time under previous owner, Patricia Dornan, as the former 105 Hotel and Grill.
New owners Wendy and Vance Pearson, along with Giselle and Kevin Kahoot, got together to buy the hotel.
Wendy and Vance have lived in Ear Falls since 2007, when they bought the tourist Camp Timberlane Lodge, which they have only recently sold. They have been very active members of the community ever since. Vance was originally from Ear Falls and has been the owner of Pearson’s Auto & Sport for more than 10 years. Wendy was elected as a town councillor in 2019 and served until 2021.
After the purchase of the old 105 Bar and Grill, Wendy enlisted the help of her friend Nancy Johnson to manage the new venture. The two had been friends for years, working out, walking and kayaking; and when Wendy had asked if Nancy would consider working with her, she jumped at it. Nancy’s background is in hotel management, and Wendy’s is in business.
The name PJ’s is an homage to the both of the managers last names, Pearson and Johnson.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity for the future of the town since COVID had hurt so many places,” says Pearson.
The previous owners had operated the hotel for over 10 years. Many of the old systems have still been kept in place under the new regime. A few minor updates have been done to the original building when the Pearson’s took it over, but they have strived to keep the familiar feel of the restaurant.
“We didn’t do a lot of renovations in the restaurant, but enough to make it ours,” says Pearson.
Since opening, PJ's has hosted Christmas parties, catering jobs and various local club meetings. Like most businesses in Ear Falls, summer is their busy season. That’s when the local camps are in full swing.
Some of PJ’s most popular foods are wings, beef dip, special pasta dishes and, of course, Debbie Bourgeois’s homemade soups. Pearson plans to start having themed food nights in the near future; with some examples being East Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and more.
One of the best parts of running PJ’s according to Wendy, has been seeing the growth, the town support, bonding with the staff and meeting new people. The learning curve of running a hotel and restaurant was quite high, but Wendy and Nancy had support from some returning Hotel 105 staff members.
“The key with PJ’s is to have fun and enjoy your job,” says Pearson. “We’ve had lots of laughs along the way.”