The constant menu variety allows Depew a veteran of Azzurro in Richmond and The Trick Dog Café on the Northern Neck to exercise her culinary creativity. Her chef, Rik Jackson, adds spicy andouille or chorizo sausage to gumbos and breakfast scrambles, and rolls salsa and avocado into the addictive breakfast burrito ($4.50), which is available all day, every day.
What's more, the savory selections have turned Jumpin J's into a dining destination. "The women who work at the Exxon station on Broad Street send so much business by telling people that they can come up here to eat. I've got regular customers who drive over from the West End weekly," Depew marvels.
The fidelity of Depew's regulars is testimony to her vision and success. After all, not many Richmonders Church Hill residents included knew where the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Leigh Street was before she converted a dilapidated convenience store into a comfy, softly lighted space where neighborhood moms now hang out with their children, where janitors from nearby churches stop for coffee and a pastry, and where local businessmen talk shop and make deals.
At Captain Buzzy's Beanery, owner/partners Mary Ann Bullard and Bob Buffington keep coffee shop culture simple. "For months while we got ready to open, all we heard were people telling us they'd gone out for a sandwich and a latte, and spent $10 which was not what we were going for at all," Bullard says. "We wanted a place you could afford to come five times a week."
Bullard and Buffington, who used to run The Ugly Mug coffee stand in The Market on East Main Street, spent months infusing their storefront (circa 1908) with country-store charm. They stuck to a menu of inexpensive soup-salad-sandwich fare (all less than $5). And while a chicken salad sandwich on wheat ($3.60) or a pair of paprika-dusted deviled eggs ($1) may not win any gourmet awards though the snowflake cookies ($.90) deserve a nomination they satisfy the comfort-food urge and have won a solid fan base among regulars. These include the knitting group that meets on the couch every Monday night, the rangers from Chimborazo Park who stop in each morning, and the neighbors who specified to their Realtor that they were looking for a house within two blocks of Captain Buzzy's.
But is there really room for two coffee places on The Hill?
"No two coffee shops are alike, and people go to each location for its uniqueness," Bullard says. "I know for a fact that having two coffee shops on Church Hill is a draw. Now there are two destinations and ... instead of bar-hopping, people can go coffee-shop-hopping!" S
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