Boulder was the first place Jennifer Peters considered opening a gluten-free restaurant before moving from London to Colorado. The owner of Just BE Kitchen strolled down Pearl Street on a scouting trip in 2017 and thought she had found the perfect space. But by the time she flew back overseas, the landlord had already leased it out. So, Peters looked to Denver instead.
Seven years and two restaurants later — one in Denver’s Lower Highland and one in the DTC –she has finally returned to Boulder, opening a third location in December, at 2500 30th St., in the former Fresh Thymes Eatery, also a gluten-free restaurant that closed last year.
“Boulder is just so much harder to find a space than Denver, but it’s always been a community I felt like our brand serves,” Peters said. “Everything happens in its own divine timing, but it was very serendipitous, especially that we went into a space that was already a gluten-free restaurant.”
Just BE Kitchen specializes in healthful food that adheres to a variety of dietary restrictions, from gluten and soy allergies to Whole30 and paleo diets. In 2020, Guy Fieri featured the restaurant on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” for an episode spotlighting down-home cooking.
But for the Boulder location, Just BE Kitchen chef Jude Romero created a new menu with French Toast Sliders made with almond flour and toasted coconut, and a bacon breakfast quesadilla with a gluten-free tortilla. There are also familiar favorites, like the Food Network-featured chicken and dumplings.
At the DTC location, 5370 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., which Peters opened in 2022 adjoining gluten-free brewery Holidaily Brewing, she also operates a small retail shop called “Mindful Market” inside the restaurant. It offers grab-and-go housemade pickles, ketchup, salad dressings and salsa, all of which follow Just BE Kitchen’s allergen-free list.
She hopes to add something similar in Boulder.
“Boulder is a natural food mecca-slash-capital of the U.S.,” Peters said. “There are so many dynamic brands here and such a focus on better-for-you food. As a restaurant, I feel we’re just an extension of that natural food focus that’s here. We’re one of the spokes on the wellness wheel.”
Peters’ goal is to make Just BE Kitchen “the Chipotle of gluten-free dining,” and she said she hopes to open 10 more locations across the country, including in Texas and Arizona, in the next five years. She said the company is currently raising capital from private investors to fund the expansion plans.
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