Bluejay's Cafe to Open Tuesday in Himmarshee, the Culmination of a Ten-Year Love Affair
|Photos by Eric Barton|
|Jeremiah and Zandra met when he was an exchange student in Sweden.|
They stayed together through high school and while both of them set out on careers in the restaurant business, she as a manager and he as a cook. On Tuesday, now married five months, the two of them will try something new: opening a restaurant together.
At 7 a.m., they'll start serving breakfast at Bluejay's Café in Himmarshee. It's a project that
has taken them nine months to open. And it hasn't come without a hitch.
|The chili-rubbed flank steak with corn salsa.|
Turns out their location, at 330 Himmarshee St., is classified as outside the Himmarshee entertainment district. By mere inches -- the line is literally the alley that runs just east of the restaurant. If they were in the entertainment district, they'd have an easier time getting a liquor license. Instead, they need to apply for a special waiver that could take up to six months for the city to approve.
|Eggs with chorizo, potato hash, and a green chili salsa.|
They'll open anyway on Tuesday with a Southwestern menu inspired by the food Jeremiah ate growing up in New Mexico. There's a skirt steak rubbed with chili powder, a Southwestern chicken sandwich full of avocado, and a rack of lamb with a red wine reduction. They'll also serve breakfast, a rarity for downtown Fort Lauderdale. And the prices are decidedly inexpensive for downtown, with items ranging from $6 to $26.
|Bluejay's waffle, with mixed berries.|
On Friday, they cooked for the first time the dishes they'll serve. Working the grill, Jeremiah admitted: "It's a little scary, I must say. It's been so long in the making, and we're finally here. I'm excited, but yeah, scared too."
|The Southwestern chicken sandwich. There's also a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and pickled red onions.|
After Jeremiah finished the dishes, he loaded them up on a table in the middle of the 28-seat dining room, which has a minimalist bistro look with exposed rafters and cinder block walls. They have another 24 seats outside on the sidewalk, facing the Museum of Discovery and Science. Zandra sat down in front of a grilled corn cob that Jeremiah had basted with chipotle lime mayo and cotija cheese.
|Grilled corn with chipotle lime mayo and cotija cheese.|
"What we're hoping for is that the food is enough to get people to come back," she said. "We'll do a soft opening on Tuesday to see how it all works out and then start putting up fliers and hoping for word of mouth."
|Lamb chops with a red wine reduction and mash.|
330 Himmarshee St., Fort Lauderdale