Exclusive first look: Jelly Cafe is now open in the DU neighborhood
And...the wait is over. This morning, Christina Smith and Josh Epps opened the second Jelly Cafe, a year and a half after bestowing the Capitol Hill neighborhood with the original Jelly Cafe, arguably the hamlet's most popular breakfast joint for pancakes, eggs Benny, hashes and bloody Marys.
And it's a fair assumption that the DU outpost -- a former Tokyo Joe's -- will likely follow suit, although this morning's soft opening was undoubtedly the quiet before the impending crush, which will unquestionably occur this weekend. "We're still training the staff, and I'm still waiting on a sign and a few tables, but we quietly opened the doors the morning, and Friday will be the grand opening," says Epps, who's gearing up for the same kind of foot traffic that he and Smith have enjoyed since Jelly's debut.
The new space, while considerably larger than the Capitol Hill quarters, maintains the same quirky vibe, with framed cereal boxes ornamenting the white walls brush-stroked with pink and orange accents, hand-crafted chandeliers designed with teacups and spoons suspended from the lofty ceiling, a groovy bar surfaced with 9,000 Scrabble tiles that peers into a partially open kitchen, custom-made wooden tables and retro turquoise booths. "When we did the original space, we wanted our fingerprint in -- and on -- everything, and we've done that here, too," says Epps, who, along with Smith, designed many of the furnishings themselves.
They've put their own hand prints on the menu, too, which now includes a larger selection of doughnuts (the Capitol Hill location also boasts several new flavors), a move, says Epps, that stems from an overriding demand for more.
"We've got a new peanut butter and Sriracha doughnut that a lot of people are afraid of, but they're incredibly good, and we've also added a lemon custard doughnut, a maple bacon doughnut and a Bhakti chai doughnut," he reveals. "The doughnuts are hugely popular, but we wanted to add some funkier flavors to our classics," he adds. He and Smith have also added a new turkey, Brie and bacon jam sandwich, but the majority of the menu remains untouched. "We'll start running a few specials in a week or two, and we've made a few tweaks here and there, but for the most part, it's essentially the same."
Jelly has the same hours as the Capitol Hill location: daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. It also has a full bar, as does the original, and next spring, the DU spot will have a sidewalk patio. "We're really excited to be here," says Epps. "We like that there's a college presence and that we're right in the heart of the DU neighborhood."
I stopped in earlier today to get a first look, the photos of which are on the following pages.