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