When Jennifer Peters opened her gluten-free, grain-free restaurant, Just Be Kitchen
, a year ago, her plan was to eventually expand from breakfast and lunch to dinner, as well. With spring in the air, Just Be has added dinner hours and a few new menu items, and also recently added alcoholic beverages with a small list of cocktails, wines, gluten-free beers and kombucha mimosas.
Just Be has become a go-to for paleo practitioners as well as those looking to avoid gluten, so Peters takes a creative approach to building flavors while leaving out wheat, rye and barley (the main gluten offenders), and also avoiding other grains, legumes and carbohydrate-heavy foods for the paleo crowd. Tinkering with hummus, for example, results in a light, cauliflower-based dip that still carries Mediterranean flavors of tahini, cumin and other spices.
Coffee-rubbed beef tenderloin with sweet potatoes and a baby kale salad.
Chicken salad on arrowroot-based bread.
Falafel with housemade pickles, slaw and sweet-potato salad.
For dessert: a brownie trifle in a jar and a cinnamon-roll cupcake.
A chicken salad made with cauliflower mayonnaise tops thick slices of grain-free bread with the texture of zucchini bread, but without the sweetness. Spicy falafel also come free of chickpeas but still have the desired light, fluffy texture alongside housemade pickles, slaw and sweet-potato salad. The bargain on the menu is a grass-fed beef tenderloin served with whipped sweet potatoes and a baby kale salad for only $13. In fact, all the meats and eggs come from pasture-raised animals, and the only dairy you'll find is in the bullet coffees made with grass-fed butter.
While dietary choices and health-based restrictions can seem oppressive, Peters manages to keep Just Be uplifting and comforting without giving customers the feeling they're missing out on anything. She explains that her kitchen staff comprises a wide range of eaters, so they test recipes to make sure they appeal to those who follow gluten-free or paleo diets as well as those who don't. "We don't make anything for the sake of serving as a substitute," she explains. "We wouldn't serve something that wasn't appealing to everyone."
There are no refined sugars in the kitchen, either, but those seeking to "Just Be Naughty" (as the dessert section of the menu is titled) can indulge in confections sweetened with dates, coconut and other non-refined products. At the bar, even the wine is carefully considered and comes from a California winery called FitVine, which ferments out far more sugar than most standard wines.
Just Be Kitchen is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Call 303-284-6652 or visit the restaurant's website for more information.