Jay’s BBQ moves to American Legion

Brianna Henrichs-Arnold manages the new Jay’s Smokin’ BBQ in the Moorhead American Legion. (Photo/Russ Hanson.)

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

Jay’s Smokin’ BBQ is cooking in a new kitchen – the Moorhead American Legion.

Manager Brianna Henrichs-Arnold began serving Jay’s popular smoked brisket and pulled pork from the newly remodeled Legion kitchen on Tuesday. Lunches will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with dinner service from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Legion manager Scott Moen said the popular Moorhead-based company headed by Jay Henrichs has leased the Legion’s kitchen. His signature smoked specialties have already become favorites among Legion members and guests over the past year, when they have been featured on Saturday Bingo nights.

Henrichs starting selling barbecue meals in the food court of the Moorhead Center Mall almost four years ago, specializing in take-out sandwiches and meals. The family-operated business opened a full-service restaurant in the former Mom’s Kitchen on Main Avenue in Fargo last February.

Brianna, who is Jay’s daughter, said the Legion location offers an opportunity to expand the menu beyond smoked beef and pork to other dishes, thanks to the larger kitchen area. The Legion also offers seating for larger groups and other amenities, including access to the adjacent bar. She will also continue to offer take-out service with curbside pick-up.

“We’ve been talking to Jay since September. The timing was impeccable,” Moen said. “We’d been considering leasing it out. For a Legion club, there’s too much overhead in the kitchen. It will be great to have them here so we can offer a better sit-down menu.”

The question he hears most frequently, he said, is whether non-members can come in. His response: “Yes, you certainly can!”

The entire club was remodeled during the Covid shut-down and subsequent safety precautions, he added, and is now at full capacity. Large-screen TVs and audio equipment has been added to accommodate meetings, including the Moorhead Business Association, which meets there on Wednesdays.

While Jay’s Smokin’ BBQ will be offering regular meals, some Legion traditions will remain. One is the Wednesday night steak fry; it will continue to be handled by the four teams who rotate throughout the month. The Sons of the American Legion will still serve burgers from 5 to 8 p.m. Mondays, and six groups of volunteers will continue their Saturday burger lunches.

Moen said the club made another change in December when it began buying its Wednesday night steaks from Butcher Block Meats in Dilworth. In their honor, the club has begun serving Butcher Block Bloody Marys in the bar, accompanying each with the shop’s meat sticks.

Of the kitchen switch, Moen said, “The public will have to be a little patient as we get things set up. It will be a process. But it’s going to be great for all of us.”

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