J'eet | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

J'eet jet? 

Well, you certainly should. The newest addition to the burgeoning Penn Avenue hospital corridor, J'eet café offers a mix of comfort-style favorites with influences from California-healthy to haute French cuisine.

It's a beautiful, inviting space -- on a sunny October afternoon, the front garage-style door was open -- specializing in salads, sandwiches and crepes, as well as a full coffee bar.

Owner Marc Stern, a few years returned to Pittsburgh from decades in California, saw a need for the big, healthy salads and sandwiches that he'd grown used to, while Chef Kevin Olmstead was enthusiastic about the potential of crepes.

"We wanted to push the idea of what crepes can be," says Stern, whose brother owns nearby Brillobox. 

"Every cuisine has some form of crepe, wrap, burrito," explains Olmstead. "Why not borrow from them and put them all here at J'eet?" 

While a caprese sandwich is a fairly familiar option, a caprese crepe is innovative. Here, the crisp, thin, airy and slightly sweet crepe sets off the pert tomato, creamy buffalo mozzarella and house-made pesto beautifully. 

It's this tweaking of old favorites into something slightly fancier that makes J'eet so welcoming; the fare is not too crazy, just a more artistic take on the familiar. Most everything is made in-house, with an emphasis on locally sourced and organic ingredients.

A Tunisian crepe, with mint, honey and candied walnuts looks intriguing. Stern and Olmstead say crepes are great to play around with. A crepe can be altered even before it's stuffed -- an espresso-and-coffee-bean sweet crepe has the espresso in the batter. And they're an inexpensive way for diners to try a new flavor -- such as with the planned Mexican, Indian or Moroccan-themed crepes. The most expensive menu items are $9, while the crepes are mostly in the $5-$7 range.

Nor is the coffee to be overlooked. Brad Richards, formerly of The Vault, is mixing the caffeinated creations and Olmstead plans to make the flavored syrups himself.

The pair has big plans in the works. While most of their early customers have come from the new Children's Hospital right across the street, Stern hopes to create a hip coffeehouse, with brunch and possibly music in the works. They're in the midst of building a deck, which should prove popular when the weather warms up again.


4200 Penn Ave., Bloomfield