Pump up the Jam

I spent many of my childhood and teenage years living in a small town where it takes 15 minutes to get anywhere. My hometown has all the staples—bank, post office, hardware store, food mart, liquor store and a motorcycle bar—but if you want anything beyond what these establishments offer, it’s a short little trip.

As a result, one of the things I fell in love with about city living is being able to walk outside my front door and having everything I need within a two block radius—morning coffee, tacos at 2 am, a smooth bottle of wine, groceries on the way home or another friendly face. It’s all right here.

Then, there’s the thrill that comes when a new place opens in your neighborhood. A few weeks ago, I spied a sign above a storefront across the street that read “Jam.” Every few days, I’d walk by and try to assess the restaurant’s progress, only to find:

IMG_3630

I assumed Jam would be a lot like the other little tasty breakfast houses in the neighborhood, like Sunrise Cafe or Janik’s. A forwarded e-mail from Urban Daddy, which my coworker Steve Kakos aptly calls “Daily Candy for men,” explained that the owner of Jam also owns neighborhood favorite Chickpea and its head chef is a North Pond and Charlie Trotter’s alumnus. And it happened to mention that Jam would open Thursday, July 16.

I made Joe get up that morning, and in true stalker fashion, we arrived 15 minutes after Jam opened. Only to find out that it wasn’t open. The chef (or who I assumed to be the chef) seemed noticeably disappointed as he explained that they hadn’t gotten their license in time, and they’d open tomorrow instead. Joe and I went to Sunrise Cafe and still enjoyed a pleasant breakfast before work.

When Joe suggested that we go the following morning, of course I agreed. And I was delighted by the results.

Oh hi. It's tiny but pretty inside Jam. I particularly adored the grey inside the white molding and these delicate little wall fixtures.

Oh hi. Jam is tiny but pretty inside. I particularly adored the gray within the white molding and the delicate little light fixtures that made the brocade pattern dance.

If you've ever talked to me in the morning, you know coffee is a must. But this little blueberry muffin with sweet sage cream was a pleasant surprise.

If you've ever talked to me in the morning, you know coffee is a must. But this little cherry muffin with sweet sage cream was a pleasant surprise.

I don't even really like French toast. I prefer savory breakfasts. However, this malted custard French toast served with homemade jam (of course) was to die for.

I usually have lukewarm feelings toward French toast. However, I am in love with the malted custard French toast served with homemade jam (of course). And its presentation was so lovely, I was moved to photograph it with my real camera. I hope Megan Boley approves.

Joe ordered steak and eggs. The steak was perfectly pink and the grits with corn providing a bed for the poached eggs were insane.

Joe ordered steak and eggs. The steak was perfectly pink and the grits with corn that provided a bed for the poached eggs were like no grits I've ever tasted. Absolutely incredible.

After our meal, the chef came by to tell see how everything was, and I was a little embarrassed that he’d remembered us stalking the day before. He promised that everything would be a little tighter next week. Although a few things were missing from the menu that morning, it didn’t keep my belly from being happy. And it won’t deter me from coming back. I’m especially looking forward to the garden seating, midnight brunches and homemade Bloody Mary mix that are in the works (Jam is BYO).

Hit the ATM before you come though. It’s cash only, kids.

Anyone want to go to brunch? 🙂

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4 Comments

Filed under Chicago, city life, Damen Avenue, food, Ukrainian Village

4 responses to “Pump up the Jam

  1. Approved.

    I might get out the Bitches Who Brunch t-shirt for this one.

  2. Anne

    I can’t wait to go. Headed there Sunday. That French Toast is calling my name!

  3. I love the light fixture, pretty pattern-ness! And yummmmmmm. Bs who B date immediately.

  4. Pingback: I have a new boyfriend « Notes on Urban Behavior

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