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CJ's Garage

CJ's Garage at 2455 Central Avenue, on Monday. The restaurant opened next door to CJ's Bar & Grill last week. 

CJ's Garage quietly opened its doors to customers last week, and by the weekend the place was packed with servers slinging pizzas and beer as quickly as they could. 

"It's been really good so far," said Jake Hogart, the bartender there. 

The Garage is part of CJ's Bar & Grill, which anchors a small, four-store strip mall on Central Avenue across the street from the AMC Classic Billings 10 theater, Rimrock Mall and the city's softball fields. 

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CJ's Garage in the snow

CJ's Garage at 2455 Central Avenue, on Monday, filled in the space left vacant when Cartridge World closed last year. 

Dave Holland, who owns CJ's at 2455 Central Ave., made the move to expand his restaurant when Cartridge World, the store that sat in the easternmost space of the building, closed last fall. With CJ's Garage now in its place, Holland's restaurants now occupy three of the four spots in the strip mall. On the westernmost end of the building is CJ's Sidelines. 

That fourth spot, in the middle of the building, is Casino Royale. 

The pizza they're serving at the Garage is new for CJ's.

"We've expanded our menu," Holland said. 

The new pizza oven is housed in the kitchen at the Garage, but pizza is available in all three of the restaurants. Another piece of the expansion Holland is excited about is the pickup window.

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CJ's Garage pickup window

CJ's Garage at 2455 Central Avenue, on Monday, features a pickup window for takeout orders. 

Both Sidelines and the Garage now have pickup windows for takeout orders and, come early summer, CJ's Garage will become an open-air patio. Holland has plans to remove large sections of the front wall of the restaurant and install large doors that will open up when the weather is nice. 

A large of part of CJ's clientele during the spring and summer are the teams and crowds from the softball fields who make their way across Central Avenue at the end of the games. 

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CJ's Garage patio

CJ's Garage at 2455 Central Avenue, on Monday, will convert its front windows into large doors that will open and convert the restaurant into an open-air patio in the summer. 

Hogart said being able to convert the Garage into open-air patio seating during the summer will be especially appealing to the softball crowds.

Holland, who has watched his business grow over the past decade, sees the move into the old Cartridge World space as the next logical step for his small group of restaurants. He's hopeful it'll help him continue to grow.

"I'm optimistic," he said. 

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Business Reporter

Business Reporter for the Billings Gazette.