Until Jennifer Peters opened Just BE Kitchen, Denver foodies were unable to dine at a place offering a 100% free of major allergen environment. Peters filled this void by starting Colorado’s only fast casual restaurant with a menu devoid of grains, refined sugar, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts or legumes. To learn more about this specialty restaurant and Peter’s background, keep reading.
What initiated your interest in the health food industry?
I’ve always been interested in healthy food but generally living overseas and travelling the world, opened my eyes to the varieties of food and how to make flavorful food with simple ingredients.
What is the origin of the “Just Be” slogan?
There’s a quote on our wall by Deepak Chopra—”How Do I Find the One?” – Answer: “BE the one.” This quote was something that moved me immensely. I was single looking for the one.
What challenges did you face when you started a gluten-free, grain free package food company called Just Be Kitchen?
- Difficulty in finding financing. “Restaurant” is a dirty word.
- Challenges finding chefs who have business acumen, talent, and integrity.
- Issues with contractors, and more
It’s so hard starting a business, any business. It’s a miracle anything can get off the ground!
Was the food company a launching pad for the restaurant?
Yes, we started at the farmer’s market. Oh, it was so much fun! Cooking out of my kitchen was a nightmare! It took so long to find a restaurant space to move.
Healthy food options are becoming more prevalent. How does your menu items stand out from your competitors?
Well, we’re the only fast casual restaurant in the State of Colorado that’s not only Whole30 approved but 100% gluten, grain, refined sugar, dairy, soy, corn, peanut and legume free.
Your menu accommodates a wide variety of food issues. Can you accommodate all requests?
Eating healthy and food sensitivities are not trends. Many of our customers have auto immune diseases, severe food allergies, or simply want to be a better version of themselves. We can fill most dietary needs
As the COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, what health and safety steps are you taking to protect your customers?
I have an instagram post on this on the 12th June that gives the details:
PATIO DINING. Oh BEauties how we have missed your faces!! We have thought long & hard about opening & we are taking a phased approached & are starting with our lovely outdoor patio for dining!! We know many of you are ready for Mindful Mouthfuls & others may still want to stay home so we are still offering pick up & delivery but we are also opening our patio from 4pm tonight.
We will open each evening at 4pm for al fresco dining only.
Next weekend we hope to open expanded patio service with brunch and expanded outdoor space!
Here are some things for you to know!!
🌸Outdoor dining: Outside in the fresh air, tables are spaced 6 feet a part & no tables can be 8 or more by City guidelines
🌸Implemented Table Service Temporarily: This is a massive change for us – and one that I hope you will be patient with as we navigate through this period. We want to nourish you but we felt that we would be BEtter off changing our operating model TEMPORARILY to a casual dining option so that customers can remain outdoors, avoid possible lines in-store and are not possibly congregating in areas. This is a massive change for us as a business, our financial model, and as a team, and so we will be doing this temporarily & testing how it goes.
🌸Separate Pick-Up/Delivery Area Implemented: We have placed the pick up shelf distanced from dining area.
🌸Wellness Checks: Our team take daily wellness checks before they come into work & have been since before the shutdown.
🌸Masks: Our Customer Kindness team will wear masks during services with guests.
🌸Contactless payments: For patio dining (and take out/delivery!), we have a fully functional contactless payment method for you!
🌸Disposable Plateware: For now, to avoid the increase in possible spreading of COVID to our team members, but also because we are operating on a streamlined team still during these times, we will offer compostable plate ware & regular silverware.
🌸Sanitation: We have always operated to sanitation guidelines & above prior to COVID so we will continue to do so & have implemented some additional sanitation options too!
Do you anticipate that carry out service will prevail in the near future?
We have luckily always had a strong carry out service. It will remain strong in a post-covid world for sure.
Are you planning to make any changes to your menu or restaurant in the near future?
We just launched our Spring/Summer menu in June. We will continue to innovate our seasonal menu changes. Since COVID happened, we have launched family meal deal boxes, weekly prepped meals, a new menu, cocktail kits, “events in a box/date nights in a box,” and a delivery service. A mobile app is launching soon!
Wow, you recently appeared on the Food Network’s program featuring Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Can you share one or more highlights from this amazing opportunity?
It was an awesome experience during the filming. A key highlight is that we had SO MANY customers want to come and participate by taking a day off for filming. It was amazing to hear all the wonderful things they had to say about us during the filming.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your end of the year decision to focus on the word “thrive” in 2020?
I just did an Instagram post on this. – We can THRIVE no matter the circumstances. Certainly my initial goals for THRIVING in 2020 have altered given the pandemic. I do feel we are thriving in spite of a pandemic in a way that is still serving us.
Have you needed to adjust your” intentions” as a result of all that has happened in just a few months?
Our commitment to nourishing our guests remains. Every decision we have had to alter or make has always kept that front and center. We have certainly adjusted some goals and plans. Our commitment to nourish has remained there and so it makes it easier to make decisions with that steering everything.
When Sandy isn’t trekking or writing in Colorado, she is traveling. She has visited more than 40 countries and lived as an international teacher in Bangalore, India. Sandy’s award-winning book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, is a resource for people contemplating an ex-pat lifestyle and living outside their comfort zone.
Sandy’s lifestyle and travel experiences are frequently shared with international and domestic online sites and print media. She has contributed stories to Hemispheres, Destinations Magazine, KUHL’s Born in the Mountain blog, Grand Magazine, Wandering Educators, Golden Living, AARP, Hadassah magazine, Localliz, One Travel, Miles Away, Canadian Jewish News, Getting On Travel, Far and Wide, Colorado Parent, Traveler Confidential, Family Circle- Momster, and others.