Gluten Free Restaurant
We opened our doors in 2015, but Jazzy Ladies Cafe & Coffeehouse is the culmination of a 20-year dream to bring scratch-made, homestyle dining to the people of Eugene. We strive to be Eugene’s favorite gluten free restaurant, by providing delicious meals to every customer – no matter their dietary restrictions.
My dear friend, Carmen, had a dream of having a little coffeehouse. One day she proclaimed that she would sell books and Jazz CD’s too and that I would have a lunch counter, and we would call it Jazzy Ladies! We both had small children at the time, so we laughed and probably changed a diaper and went on with our visit. 20 years later we were able to make that dream a reality. Although she has now retired, I am so proud of what we were able to build from that long-ago dream.
People ask me how long I have been cooking, and I usually say since I was big enough to stand up on a chair in my grandma’s kitchen. I have fond memories of my grandma, baking fresh bread and cinnamon rolls. She and my mom baked endless varieties of Christmas cookies and candies. They both cooked real food from scratch, and that is just how I learned to cook. My mom had the gift of hospitality and was an excellent hostess. There was always room around our table for extra friends at holidays and special occasions. Our home was a gathering place for events, both big and small. My mom was not fancy, she was welcoming and made you feel like you belonged, like you were family.
I want my customers to feel like Jazzy Ladies is a place where they belong. I want them to feel welcome and that they are a part of the family. It brings us joy to be part of their celebrations and gatherings. I want them to know how glad we are that they are there.
The Birth of a Dedicated Gluten Free Restaurant
The original dream was of a coffeehouse that would have a lunch counter. Life has grown and evolved us into something a little different. Michelle struggled with food allergies most of her life, and then her doctor said gluten would also have to leave her diet. “I had always found it difficult to eat out. I have to ask so many questions of the servers and the kitchen, I always feel bad and like I’m a huge pain.”
When I had to remove gluten from my diet, I started trying gluten-free products from the store. Big disappointment there! So, I started doing research and reworking my own recipes into gluten free versions. I have gotten our gluten free recipes to a point where people cannot tell the difference anymore. I am so happy to provide food that people with food allergies or sensitivities can enjoy and not feel like they are missing out.
Another unexpected joy was the location where we chose to open. We have the Farmer’s Market nearby twice a week. I love fresh local foods. It has been a pleasure to meet the actual people who grow the food we eat, to learn about ingredients that I was not familiar with, and get suggestions about how to cook them. I look forward to my twice-weekly shopping trips at the Farmer’s Market.
In addition to the Farmer’s Market, I was so fortunate to find out about a local food event that is held at LCC each year, connecting local producers with restaurants and stores. Again, having that connection to other local folks became so important to us as a business. It is where we met Andi Saxon our beloved “egg lady” from Tangled Orchard. I am so delighted that we can serve her pasture raised eggs in our café.
Working with other local businesses like Long’s Meat Market, GloryBee Foods, and Hummingbird Wholesale. Our chocolate is from a chocolatier in Cottage Grove, Sanity Chocolate, and I drive to Springfield to get fresh corn tortillas from Tortilleria El Metate. I grew up in a family that highly valued relationships and a sense of community. Being a part of the food community here in Eugene is particularly important to me.
My teenage son often exclaimed to me as he rifled through the pantry that we had, “No food in here, just ingredients!” I have always enjoyed baking and making foods from scratch, I would always reply, just tell me what you want, I will make it for you.
World-Inspired Cuisine at a Local Restaurant
Another love of ours is travel. I grew up traveling with my family and it is a passion I have continued in my adult life. My husband says we travel on our stomachs and we definitely do. We always try to eat where the local people are eating. We ask taxi drivers where they take their wives for dinner.
Sharing food and breaking bread connects us and shows us how alike we all are. We have met some amazing people and eaten some amazing food on our journeys. I have always loved returning home and recreating those dishes and flavors.
Having people enjoy the foods we have prepared and the environment we have created is so satisfying. It is seeing our regular customers and making meeting new friends that keeps us going. Come visit us today to try it for yourself!
MADE FROM SCRATCH
What We’re Known For