The O’Brien family has been
in the restaurant business for more than 70 years at the same location
on Route 3A in Scituate, Mass. Edward P. O’Brien, affectionately
known as “Pappy,” acquired a Dutchland Farms franchise and
opened in the summer of 1935. A decorative windmill was affixed to
a cupola and waitresses dressed as Dutch girls. The
“stand” consisted of a soda fountain with ten stools and six booths
and was open from late June until Labor Day. The first menu
featured 10-cent ice cream cones, clam chowder for 15-cents and fresh
lobster rolls for 50-cents. The most expensive item was a full
course sirloin dinner for $l. Being one of the original
roadside stands on the main road to Cape Cod from Boston, it was an
In 1938, about the time the
Dutchland Farms chain of restaurants was going out of business, the
O’Briens joined Howard Johnson’s and became one of their first ten
original stands. The windmill was subsequently removed and the
roof shingles replaced with orange tiles to conform to Howard Johnson’s
signature look. As business increased, the restaurant was
enlarged and the season was extended from early Spring to late Fall.
In 1952, Philip J. O’Brien
(P.J.) bought the business from his father. As the restaurant
continued to grow, Philip, who was trained at the Yale School of Architecture,
designed each expansion. Eventually, a liquor license was obtained and
the new bar became popular with piano music adding to the warm atmosphere.
While still a Howard Johnson’s, P.J. added his own gourmet menu to
the familiar fare of the franchise. His specialties included veal,
duckling, escargot and baked stuffed lobster.
When the new Route 3 opened,
3A lost much of its traffic to Plymouth and Cape Cod. Due to the
rerouting of traffic and the subsequent change in business, PJ worked
out an agreement with the Howard Johnson Co. to terminate his contract
and operate under his own name. The soda fountain was removed
creating another dining room and with the kitchen and lounge expansions,
PJ’s Country House Restaurant became a South Shore landmark.
Geoffrey O’Brien is third
generation to manage the restaurant. After completing college,
Geoff was drawn back to the family business in which he had always been
involved. For more than 25 years, under his management, PJ’s
tradition has continued. The quality dining experience has
been enhanced and the lone tinkling of the ivories has flowered into
the swell of small groups performing live in the lounge.
Over the years, our menus have
evolved reflecting current trends and our customers’ tastes.
As well as lighter fare and pub menus, we prepare creative specialties
to help satisfy our loyal diners with a more varied selection.
PJ’s is not only perfect for special occasions, but it also offers
a relaxed atmosphere where one can dine casually and feel comfortable.
“We pay personal attention to detail, offer quality products and give
PJ’s is supported by a dedicated
and talented staff who we consider to be part of “our family.”
We are proud that what began as a roadside ice-cream stand has developed
into one of the finest restaurants on the South Shore.