Lakewood OH

AJ’s Urban Grill grows from sandwich shop to full-service fare

AJ’s Urban Grill, once a little Westlake sandwich shop with a dozen seats and counter service, is all grown up.

AJ’s moved to the former Frankie’s Italian restaurant location in the Williamsburg Square shopping center and became a full-service restaurant. The space has been completely remodeled and reconfigured to accommodate a bar with lounge seating and a spacious, modern dining area. Daily specials are posted at the restaurant entrance.

The regular menu now includes starters like Thai sesame chicken lettuce wraps ($10), hand-breaded lump crabcakes with chipotle aioli ($12), homemade hummus with crushed pepper relish ($9) and barbecued chicken nachos with corn and bean salsa ($11).

AJ’s original grinders are still a feature and include the signature steak or chicken sandwich with provolone cheese, grilled onions and banana peppers ($10). The French dip sandwich ($11.50), Italian with layered deli meats ($8.50) and Lonestar with broiled chicken, cheddar jack cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce ($9.50) are big enough for two meals.

Other sandwiches are the tuna melt ($8), the grilled portobello mushroom with toasted peppers and chive cream cheese ($9), chicken on a ciabatta roll with onion straws and chipotle mayonnaise ($9.50) and fish with provolone cheese and tomatoes ($9). Sandwiches are served on your choice of freshly baked breads.

Half-pound burgers include the Urban Legend, with white American cheese, capicola and hard salami, onion straws and mayo ($11.50). The Barn Burner sizzles with crushed pepper relish, banana peppers, pepper jack cheese and Suicide sauce ($10). The Kahuna burger is topped with barbecue sauce, bacon, grilled pineapple and provolone cheese ($11.50). Burgers are served with hand-cut french fries.

There are several salads on the menu, including a bleu cheese wedge ($8.50), Thai grilled chicken with sesame dressing ($12) and Southwest Cajun ($8). Homemade soup is featured daily.

Pizza appears to be a big draw. During our visit, we noted that there were several tables of customers sharing the gourmet pies. The veggie pesto pizza is topped with house tomato sauce, pesto, ricotta cheese, artichoke hearts, banana and roasted red peppers, tomatoes and mozzarella ($12). The Carnivore is garnished with bacon, sausage, capicola, pepperoni and hard salami ($14.50).

Entrees include Italian specialties like chicken risotto ($17) and Tuscan pasta ($14). Pork tenderloin is served with fresh tomato compote and creamy pesto risotto ($19). Steaks include a 14-ounce New York strip ($23) and 8-ounce filet mignon ($26). The mixed grill is a combo of chicken and New York strip steak with rice and seasonal vegetables ($19.50). Jambalaya with andouille sausage, fried okra and chicken or shrimp ($17) is a house specialty.

AJ’s offers brunch on Sunday, serving eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, omelets, steak and eggs, a Southwest wrap and breakfast pizzas, as well as pancakes and French toast with fresh fruit and Ohio maple syrup. Sandwiches and salads are also available, and there is a children’s menu.

AJ’s Urban Grill, 25939 Detroit Road in Westlake, is open for lunch and dinner. Major credit cards are accepted. Private parties can be accommodated. Phone 440-617-7827.



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