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Just Be Kitchen looks for sweet spot of health and wellness

New Denver concept targets paleo and gluten-free diners

Just Be Kitchen debuted this week with a paleo and gluten-free menu, and aims to create a place where those with allergies and food intolerances can feel well and welcome.

The 80-seat fast-casual restaurant was developed by co-chief foodie officers Jennifer Peters and Carrie Baird with growth in mind. The pair looks to open 20 Just Be Kitchens over the next decade.

Peters said diners today are choosing the low-carb, paleo way of eating, or avoiding gluten as a lifestyle choice, that’s here to stay.

“They may be seen as buzzwords, but more and more people are being diagnosed with food intolerances,” she said.

The restaurant is completely grain- and gluten free, and therefore safe for those with celiac disease, she said. Refined sugar is also off the menu. 

Amelia Alpaugh

Peters said the concept is designed to disrupt, in the way that Veggie Grill pioneered vegan dining in a fast-casual format.

“We want to do the same thing for gluten free,” she said.

Baird, the former executive chef of the restaurant Brazen in Denver, serves as culinary director. On the made-from-scratch menu are “meat-forward” dishes like the Fulfilled burrito with scrambled eggs, sausage, Cheddar wiz, with crispy hash browns, pork or veggie green chili, cilantro, scallions and jalapeno in a paleo tortilla; or the chicken Caesar salad or wrap with chicken breast, cashew Caesar dressing, pickled red onion, raw Parmesan, romaine and gluten-free croutons.

A Bone Broth Bar allows guests to build their own mug, pint or 32-ounce bowl with various types of broth made from the bones of animals that were grass fed and pasture raised, with the option of adding toppings like garlic, ginger, parsley, turmeric or scallions. 

Amelia Alpaugh

Signature items include the Meatzza, a variation on pizza with a sausage base, rather than dough; as well as the JBK Burger made with grass-fed beef and topped with bacon, with the option of raw Cheddar. 

There are desserts, like chocolate chip cookies or Almond Joy macaroons. Drinks include coffee — including a line of butter-boosted Bullet Coffee drinks — juices, kombucha and no-sugar-added Q Sodas.

The average check is about $10 to $12 at breakfast and $12 to $14 at lunch.

Later this year, the restaurant plans to add a grain-free spirits program to bring alcohol into the mix.

Sarah Addy Photography

Just Be Kitchen has a shabby-chic style that highlights wellness, with inspirational quotes on the walls and a chalkboard where guests can answer the question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Peters said the goal was to bring together ideas about health and better living, like a yoga studio or wellness center does.

“We want to serve mindful mouthfuls and be that intersection of wellness and food,” she said. 

Just Be Kitchen serves breakfast all day and lunch. A mobile app is in the works, and delivery may be added down the road, Peters said.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

TAGS: Food Trends
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