Chef Jeffrey (“CJ”) Pevehouse says his business is a caterer first, and then a restaurant, not a restaurant that happens to offer catering services.
“We are a full-service caterer, with tables, linens, chairs, everything,” the chef said.
He and his crew can handle catering for five weddings in one weekend, and they already have over 200 weddings on the books for 2016.
Pevehouse has even served the food for three of his own daughters’ weddings, and says he “hates to disappoint brides,” so he strives to provide great food on a budget for his catering clients.
“CJ’s catered my wedding last weekend and I have one word for the experience—perfect! The food was outstanding. His staff is outstanding,” said Hannah Raine. “All of my guests raved about how awesome the food was and how professional and kind the staff was. I can’t thank CJ’s enough for their services on my big day. Such reasonable pricing for such outstanding food and service.”
Now, after opening a restaurant in 2015, there is a facility where all can partake in the the chef’s creations. The restaurant really sprung out of demand from those who ate a meal at one of his many catering jobs, Pevehouse says.
“Everyone would say, ‘Where’s your restaurant?’” he said.
And now, he has an answer for them—CJ’s is located at 352 Northfield Blvd., in the unit on the left side of the complex that formerly housed Fuji.
And the company’s intense catering schedule is not likely to eclipse the quality of the restaurant. CJ’s prime rib, grilled salmon, catfish and tacos have already become a hit with many diners in Murfreesboro.
A meal at CJ’s begins with a complimentary platter of some caprese (the traditional red, white and green Italian salad with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil), served with a little balsamic vinegar and a few Alabama fire crackers, toasted saltine crackers with just a touch of red pepper.
The enthusiasm for the caprese inspired a caprese pizza, a dish Pevehouse wants area vegetarians be aware of. He also offers a shrimp and asparagus pizza.
Pevehouse moved around a lot before settling in Murfreesboro, and his time in San Diego, San Francisco, Arizona and Atlanta gave him a broad American culinary palate from which to paint in his fusion style.
He calls the food “Southern fine dining” when asked to give it a label, but pulls some creative flavors out, such as marinating chicken in either a blackberry habanero blend, or the equally popular raspberry chipotle sauce.
The raspberry chipotle chicken is a house specialty or sorts, and can be used on a salad, in tacos or as a standalone entrée.
“The raspberry chipotle chicken was fantastic and the whiskey cake was great,” Elizabeth Porter said after her dinner at CJ’s. “Very impressed.”
The prime rib, which Chef Jeff coats with his balsamic glaze to give the dish a tasty sweetness, is flame-grilled—and delicious, tender and juicy.
The salmon is also typically served with the balsamic glaze, but customers can choose Asian ginger sauce, a bourbon glaze, the blackberry habanero blend or the raspberry chipotle on their steaks or salmon.
Pevehouse said he feels that once more people understand the restaurant’s prices, they will gain many more customers.
“We look like $44 a plate,” the chef says, “but we’re really $12 a plate.”
The small portion of prime rib is $11.50, served with two sides. The salmon is $12.50, and there are numerous sandwiches under $10.
The filet mignon or the large portion of prime rib are the priciest items on the menu at $19.50 apiece.
“I paid $8 for chicken in a cranberry sauce, asparagus and grilled pineapple. It was amazing,” said Wesley Robinson. “Seriously, one of the best meals I’ve had in Murfreesboro. I would strongly recommend it.”
With some of the savings, try an appetizer, soup or dessert.
Chef Jeff says he enjoys running his own kitchen and calling his own shots.
“If we want to run a special, we run it; if we want to do something different, we do it,” Pevehouse said.
He mentioned he may like to bring some East Indian curries to CJ’s menu in the future.
The restaurant is able to obtain many of its ingredients from area farms; in turn, they cater many events and weddings at these farms. CJ’s has catered events at Oaklands Manor, Stone Gate Farm, Arrington Vineyards, Messick Farms, and even in Ruskin Cave in Dickson County.
Now, CJ’s spacious restaurant in Murfreesboro contains a private dining room that seats up to 100 guests, so the Pevehouses are able to cater many corporate events and wedding rehearsal dinners in their own facility.
The restaurant is open for breakfast Thursdays through Sundays, if you’d dare to take on The General—two enormous pancakes containing bacon, fried chicken and gravy in between them, covered with maple syrup—or some of CJ’s breakfast casserole.
CJ’s Restaurant and Catering
352 Northfield Blvd.
Mon.–Wed.: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Thurs.: 7 a.m.–9 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 7 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun.: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Grilled blackberry chicken salad: $9.50; grilled salmon with two sides: $12.50; Prime rib with two sides: $19.50; San Francisco Burger (half-pound burger on sourdough with bacon and guacamole) and fries: $9