From pancakes to parties
Jose Ramirez set out to build a neighborhood staple. His vision was an affordable, family friendly spot that served a killer breakfast.
It was realized as JJ’s Café in 2010, which he runs with his wife, Josefina.
On any given day, he knows a majority of the diners in his restaurant by name. He wanders from table to tables, asking about their families and their holidays.
“People recognize me everywhere,” he says. “I’ll be out shopping and I’ll hear, ‘Hey, Mr. JJ!’ ”
The breakfast menu was built on crepes, flavorful pancakes and an ample array of egg dishes, along with a hearty brunch buffet on the weekends. Lunch is simple with burgers, sandwiches and salads, but Ramirez always has a few specials on the board that offer customers something new to try.
“The most popular plate we have is our Nutella crepes, or maybe the huevos ranchero,” he says. “I’m from California, so a lot of our dishes have a California twist.”
After six successful years growing the restaurant and catering business, Ramirez realized he was missing an opportunity. Customers would ask to rent out the restaurant for special events, something that wasn’t always cost effective for him to do. When RaRa’s Closet closed down next door, he bought the space and transformed it into an event center. He knocked down the connecting wall and installed a stylish barn door that allows him to open up the additional space on the weekends when the restaurant is packed.
“We have catering, of course, or people can bring in their own food for parties,” he says.
The new space can fit 100 guests, but when combined with the full restaurant, it could hold wedding parties of up to 250. Ramirez invested in an array of linens, vases and crystal candelabras that allow clients to stylize the event to their taste.
Ambiance: Super casual
Price range: $7-$10
Hours: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, plus
5-8:30 p.m. on Friday
10233 Northwest Highway
Did you know: The café gives back every year by feeding about 50 needy families for Thanksgiving. “It started with five and just kept growing,” Jose Ramirez says.