Less than a year after opening its second location in the Denver Tech Center, Just BE Kitchen is expanding to Boulder.
Owner Jennifer Peters said the eatery, which first opened in LoHi at 2364 15th St., is opening its third location in Boulder at 2500 30th St.
“When I started the business six years ago, Boulder was the first place I wanted to be but it was really challenging to look for space,” Peters said.
The 2,100-square-foot location was slated to be a Fresh Thymes Bodega, but Peters said the owner wanted out after opening delays. She purchased the business’ assets, including kitchen equipment and dining furniture, from Fresh Thymes.
“We would be open tomorrow if we didn’t have to wait on the city,” Peters said. “We need to be open in three months – we only have rent abatement for the next three months.”
Just BE Kitchen doesn’t use gluten, grain, peanuts, soy, corn and refined sugar. In general, it accommodates food allergies and various diets. Peters started the restaurant after changing her own diet to anti-inflammatory to improve her athletic performance.
She said the original LoHi restaurant pulled in $1.5 million in revenue last year. The second location at 5370 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., which is shared with the gluten-free Holidaily Brewing, opened in December.
The menu focuses on “comfort foods” such as burritos, chicken and dumplings, and grass-fed burgers.
“I was blown away by the power of nutrition and what food can do for us,” she said. “I wanted to show eating well didn’t have to be about sacrifice,” Peters said.
Boulder will have the same menu as the LoHi and DTC spots, but Peters said she expects a higher volume of customers and is expanding grab-and-go offerings.
“We have a lot of customers that travel from Boulder to our LoHi location,” Peters said. “Boulder is holistic in nature but there seems to be a dense amount of people there with food sensitivities as well.”
She noted opening in Boulder won’t be easy, as many businesses are hit with continuous permitting and construction delays, high labor costs and inflation.
To help fund the Boulder expansion, Peters said the company is raising $750,000, $500,000 of which is slated for Boulder operation costs. The rest will go toward expanding the brand’s tortilla production. She’s raised $110,000 so far.
“I have hope – I think the community really wants us there. I’ve been told they’re trying to do changes to welcome more businesses,” Peters said. “I’m just praying that the gods are on our side. We want to be able to thrive, not just survive.”