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Idaho Falls couple opens new restaurant, bar and performance venue

Idaho Falls couple opens new restaurant, bar and performance venue

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

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IDAHO FALLS

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

The dance floor and stage inside 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 has reopened with a new occupant.

AJ’s Place opened in April at 1560 Lindsay Boulevard with owners Ritchie Alan and JD Henderson. Over the past year, they’ve focused on transforming the space into something more like the original.

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

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

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With a fresh coat of paint and a renovated stage featuring a modern sound system and bar area, the building now resembles an old-fashioned nightclub and is equipped to host a variety of performances, Alan and Henderson told EastIdahoNews.com.

“In the past, 95% of the event (here) was music. We wanted the opportunity to do burlesque shows, open mics, comedy. We’re working with a promoter to bring MMA fights here,” Alan says. “Our biggest focus is to give people a place to enjoy all kinds of shows, not just music.”

The duo spent $12,000 on a sound system to accommodate live performers at the venue, and they also offer a private waiting room with stage access where performers can change clothes or sit down between sets.

The restaurant serves burgers and other dishes prepared the way Ritchie remembers them from his childhood.

“We make greasy burgers with real bacon and real sauce. We try to make the best burgers we can,” he says.

Things seem to be taking off. They’ve been hosting live shows to packed houses every weekend since they opened, and they’re excited to open the venue to the community.

“We try to tell everyone what we’re trying to do and make them feel like we own this place,” Alan says.

“I got a call today to set up our first wedding here in August,” Henderson adds.

Take a look at the venue in the video above.

Seating area at 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 was tailored to their individual backgrounds. Alan graduated years ago from culinary school, which he never used, and has been performing in a band for many years.

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

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

“He was planning on going back into business, and I always wanted to (use my culinary background), so I thought, ‘Why not combine the two?’” Alan says.

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

While the couple are grateful for the success of the business, their main priority is to help people in any way they can. They don’t charge local bands to perform, and if customers want their food cooked a certain way or a change 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 a lot of artists book our time, so we haven’t had a chance to celebrate. But we hope to do that soon,” Henderson says.

AJ’s Place is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM, and Fridays through Sundays at 11:00 AM.

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