Jelly opens for breakfast and lunch in Capitol Hill with pancakes, hashes, Benedicts and housemade jams and jellies

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"We didn't want to open fast; we wanted to open right," says Christina Smith, who, along with her partner, Josh Epps, had hoped to un-jar Jelly, a new breakfast joint in Capitol Hill, on the first day of 2011 -- just in time for the drunks to wobble in at 6:30 a.m., which is when Jelly unlocks its doors.

But instead, the duo unmasked the space late last week, serving a board of breakfast dishes created by David Payne, a former chef at Dunlays on the Square, a neighborhood American grill in Chicago. "I moved to Denver to be closer to my family, found the job on Craigslist, and here I am," says Payne, adding that the restaurant whence he came did a bang-up brunch business. "This is a good fit for me, and so far things have been going very well. The neighborhood seems happy that we're here, and we're happy we're here."

Smith, who worked in restaurants in San Francisco and San Diego before moving to Denver several years ago, believes that what she and Epps, an artist, have created in the Capitol Hill 'hood is exactly what residents are looking for -- and exactly what she and Epps had envisioned. "Breakfast is a culture in San Francisco -- a way of life -- and the feedback that we've been getting is that people want that here, too," notes Smith. "Josh and I took our favorite bits and pieces from all the restaurants where we used to go and put together a menu of all the things that we love to eat."

Buckwheat pancakes; bacon pancakes; cornflake-battered French toast; scrambles; a half-dozen manifests of eggs Benedict and nearly the same number of hashes; breakfast sliders; cold cereals; and housemade jellies, for example. "There's been a lot of blood, sweat, tears and love poured into this place, and I think you can tell from the menu that we're not cutting corners -- that we're putting out really great dishes and spreading the love," says Smith, adding that she wants to start working with local farmers. "We definitely want to make friends with farmers in places like Palisade so we can use their peaches and Honeycrisp apples at the restaurant."

Jelly is open from 6:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m. daily. For more info, call 303-831-6301.

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