Construction Watch: Just Be Kitchen Takes Shape in Former Mona's Space

Just Be Kitchen expects to open in late April.EXPAND
Just Be Kitchen expects to open in late April.
Mark Antonation
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Where Mona's moved out at 2364 15th Street, Just Be Kitchen is getting ready to open a different style of breakfast and lunch eatery. Founder Jennifer Peters and chef/partner Carrie Baird hope to have the nutrition-oriented restaurant open by the end of April.

Baird's menu focuses on paleo foundations: gluten-free, grain-free recipes with plenty of meat and egg options, all from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals. Highlights include housemade grain-free burger buns, tortillas and English muffins; a "meatzza" with a sausage patty instead of a standard pizza crust; bone broth with customizable add-ins (turmeric, garlic and other superfoods); bullet-style coffee enriched with MCT oil and butter; and healthy salads like a cashew Caesar. Coffee beans will be sourced from Method Roasters and Copper Door Coffee.

The restaurant will be set up with counter service and a coffee bar at one end, with shabby-chic decor, an enclosed patio and inspirational quotes scattered across the walls (including a chalkboard wall where you can add your own response to "If I weren't afraid, I'd..."). "We want to give a different face to the current fast-casual scene," Peters, who plans to open multiple outposts of Just Be in the coming years, explains.

Peters says Just Be Kitchen will appeal to those with food allergies and intolerances; people who "want to be their better self" — including high-performance athletes as well as everyday folks just looking for healthy alternatives; and residents in the neighborhood looking for well-made food in a casual setting.

The Mona Lisa mural on the side of the building will stay put.EXPAND
The Mona Lisa mural on the side of the building will stay put.
Mark Antonation

Changes to the space from its previous incarnation include a pale-blue color scheme that gives a light and relaxing air to the dining room; white-washed floors and tile accents further brighten the space. Outside, the Mona Lisa mural, originally painted by Stefano Castronovo in 1984, will stay; it belongs to the Denver Public Art Collection.

Just Be Kitchen will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with breakfast served all day along with a separate lunch menu. A liquor license will be added soon after opening, with an emphasis on grain-free spirits and beer.

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