Comfort Food for Crazy Times

PB & Jay’s Café is a hit on many levels

Kirsten Fuchs of Baked Pie Company shows how much can be made with a simple concept. Her new venture is PB & Jay’s Cafe in Fletcher.

A lot of restaurants or food trucks are built around specific comfort staples — fried chicken, doughnuts, grilled cheese — but none call back to childhood quite as deeply as PB & Jay’s Café in Fletcher, specializing in nut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. The concept was launched by Kirsten Fuchs, who excels at filling boutique culinary niches; three years ago, she founded Baked Pie Company, a cozy, retro-themed café that became so popular it now features two locations and more than 100 pie flavors.

Named after Fuchs’ father TJ and opened in the middle of a pandemic, PB & Jay’s provides a little warmth in a whirlwind year, is easy on the budget, and appeals to almost any age and appetite.

How did you wind up deciding on a PB&J-themed cafe?

Kirsten Fuchs: I’d always pass by [The Garage on 25] and think, wow, that would be a neat space for a coffee shop. And I’d always had that in the back of my head. I reached out to them maybe a year-and-a-half ago and told them I’d love to do something with the space if it ever came available. There aren’t a lot of independent restaurants around here, in Fletcher, and the more I thought about it, I thought, I would really like to open a gourmet nut-butter-and-jam café. I don’t know why that idea came to me, but it just popped into my head and it resonated.

You can bet your bread and butter that’s local jam.

You source your nut butters and brand them with a private label, so all of the products are available to eat on site or take home …

That’s sort of the whole concept — create your own sandwich, picking your nut butter, picking your bread, whether you want it toasted or not, and then picking a locally made jam. And then we have add-ons — you can do bananas, or marshmallow fluff, or Nutella, or our brown-sugar bacon — and that’s really popular. … There’s something different about making a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich at your house and then going and being able to create a sort of gourmet peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and people are loving it. I have a couple customers that come in several times a week. They say they eat peanut butter and jelly all the time, and they just like the options that we have.

Was peanut butter a big part of your life before the café?

I grew up eating it, and I still eat peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. It’s one of my go-to meals. It’s a comfort food, it takes you back to your childhood. And it’s not a high-dollar item. You’re not going to go spend $15 eating lunch — a sandwich is build your own, and it’s about $5.

PB & Jay’s Café, 3445 Hendersonville Road, Fletcher. Open Tuesday-Friday, 8am-4pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm. For more information, call 828-376-3711 or visit pbjayscafe.com. (Check the Facebook page for special events.)

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