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Idaho Falls couple opens new restaurant, bar and event venue
Idaho Falls couple opens new restaurant, bar and event venue

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

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BIZ BUZZ

IDAHO FALLS

New restaurant and bar in eastern Idaho offers a stage for local artists

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

IDAHO FALLS – An iconic Idaho Falls building that once housed a popular bar and live concert venue is reopening with a new tenant.

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

In the 1960s, the Skyway Bar, which was originally located in the 930 square meters, was a popular nightclub where locals from the local rock scene came to see their favorite bands perform.

Mac ‘n Kelly’s Pub & Grill was the building’s last tenant. It closed in 2022.

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

“Back then, 95% of the venue was music. We wanted to do burlesque shows, open mics and comedy. We’re working with a promoter to put MMA fights here,” Alan says. “Our biggest goal is to give people a place to enjoy not just music, but shows of all kinds.”

The duo spent $12,000 on a sound system to provide for live performances at the venue, and they also offer a private waiting room with stage access where artists can go to change or sit between performances.

The restaurant offers burgers and other dishes prepared exactly as Ritchie remembers them from his childhood.

“Greasy cheeseburgers with real bacon and sauces – we try to build the best burger possible,” he says.

The business seems to be catching on. They have hosted live shows to sold-out crowds every weekend since opening and are excited to open the space to the public.

“We try to let everyone know what we’re up to and let them know that we have this venue,” Alan says.

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

Check out the venue in the video above.

sitting 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-based couple and is tailor-made for their individual backgrounds. Alan graduated years ago from culinary school, which he never attended, and has played in a band for many years.

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

Shortly after his retirement, Alan learned that the Lindsay Boulevard location was available.

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

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

Although the couple are grateful for the success of the business, what matters most to them is helping people in any way they can. They don’t charge for local bands to perform, and if customers want their food prepared a certain way or want a variation that’s not on the menu, Alan says they’re willing to accommodate.

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

“We’ve had so many shows booked that we haven’t really had a chance to celebrate yet. But we hope to be able to do that soon,” says Henderson.

AJ’s Place is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., and Fridays through Sundays until 11:00 a.m.

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