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Our Story

Since 1956, 3721 San Pablo Dam Road has served the community of El Sobrante.


Originally known as Bob’s Steakhouse, then El Toro Mexican Foods and now known as PJ’s, the restaurant originally got its name from Pete and Joan Peterson. Under their tenure, PJ’s served up American and fine Mexican food under the management of Ann Davis.  

When Pete and John Givogri bought it in 1980, they kept the name since it matched their initials. The Givogris, father and son, operated the popular O’ Sullivans in El Cerrito until it was demolished to make way for an expanded Mechanic’s parking lot.  

A notable and long-time bartender, Hector Quijas, worked for the owners who operated El Toro , then Pete and Joan Peterson and finally, Pete and John Givogri. Hector was a fixture at PJ’s and his kind, generous spirit fills the building today.

John Givogri and his family operated PJ’s for over 40 years, until John passed away in July, 2022.

The Padia Family, long-time customers and friends of the family intend to remodel and reopen PJ’s.  Lorna Padia Markus notes “PJ’s is the El Sobrante Cheers, where everyone knows your name, only better. We intend to reopen PJ’s as a local bar and restaurant featuring Italian- American fare, good drinks and company.” We will remember and honor many local notables, including John G, Mima, Tim O’K, Mike V., Hector O., Tommy, Glenpa, Dan M., Nancy A., and many more.

We want to honor and remember the rich history of PJ’s, while building a center for our community to gather. We would love your stories, pictures, names of other notables, to incorporate and document this history.

Based on the county permits, contractors, etc., we will keep you posted on the Grand Opening.

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