Photography by Jadrian Klinger
The moment you step through the door at Jumbars, you’ll feel as if you’ve returned to grandmother’s house. Charming, stylish and cozy describe the atmosphere while the heavenly aromas coming from the kitchen entice your appetite.
Chef Paul Hoffert and his wife, Mary, originally opened Jumbars in 2003, with the idea of creating a small, local eatery with homemade meals, good conversation and a sense of community.
Today, Jumbars continues to thrive with a growing following of both locals and newcomers.
The restaurant was originally named after Mary Hoffert’s great-grandmother, Anna Jumbar, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1876. Mary passed away in 2003, but Chef Paul and his daughter, Emily, continue the tradition of using fresh and local ingredients to create extraordinary breakfasts and lunches.
Inside Jumbars, you’ll immediately be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff, inviting you up to the counter, which is filled with homemade breads, cookies, pies and other scrumptious treats. Emily says, “My dad is a serious baker and is constantly preparing goodies every day.”
I hadn’t even had lunch yet, and I just knew I’d be ordering additional desserts to go. Emily continues, “Because my dad prepares each meal from scratch, wait times may be longer, so we encourage our customers to relax, take in the good conversation and maybe indulge in a light snack from our baked goods.”
Flowered tablecloths, soft music and a baker’s rack with current newspapers and homemade jams and jellies (peach, blueberry, strawberry, pepper, orange marmalade and pumpkin butter), one can’t help but feel completely comfortable in this homey restaurant with seating for 40. Chalkboards on either side of the restaurant display daily soups, breakfast and lunch specials as well as pies.
I started with curried yam soup served with a side of buttery and crispy French bread. The soup was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the cold apple cider – direct from a local orchard – was a treat. For lunch, I had the whole-wheat flatbread, which consisted of grilled chicken, zucchini, tomato, spinach, basil pesto, mozzarella and asiago cheese. Cut into neat triangles, it was perfect to share or eat solo.
My friendly server, who has been with Jumbars for years and feels like part of the family, told me that an elderly gentleman recently remarked that the coconut custard pie was the best he’d ever tasted. I would have to agree. With two young daughters and a husband at home – all of whom have a sweet tooth – I purchased a chocolate brownie and a Duffin to take with me. Let’s just say the treats didn’t last long.
Breakfasts are a hit – signature omelets, pancakes and French toast. With sides of various meats, potatoes and grits, there is something for everyone. Breakfast treats include sticky buns, muffins, parfaits and the popular Duffin, which is a cinnamon sugar buttermilk donut shaped like a muffin.
Did I already mention that everything is homemade? Emily recommended the popular New England omelette, which consists of house-made maple pork sausage, Granny Smith apples and cheddar cheese.
Lunch favorites include: Greenwich Street special, And The Beat Goes On Salad as well as Mary’s Salad. Choose from sandwiches like pulled pork, salmon club, burgers (vegetarian-fed, naturally raised with no hormones, antibiotics or steroids) and an assortment of salads.
Using local ingredients is important to Jumbars. Emily says, “We try to out-source as much as possible from local farms, especially for fruits and potatoes, which are used in many of our dishes.”
Desserts and baked goods deserve a category of their own. Aside from those mentioned above, choices also include: oatmeal/raisin and chocolate chip cookies, caramel apple cake, sour cherry scones, berry muffins, crumbcake, kiffles, rugelach, yumbars and whatever else Chef Paul feels like whipping up.
Whole-wheat bread, marble French baguettes and English muffins baked with all-natural ingredients and no preservatives are available for purchase. Pies are a big hit with the Thanksgiving holiday where Emily and Chef Paul will pull two all-nighters to bake and prepare over 100 pre-ordered, like Jumbleberry, pumpkin, apple, pecan and coconut custard.
Jumbars is open Tuesday through Sunday, serving both breakfast and lunch. Prices range from $2.50 to around $11. Check them out at jumbars.com, follow them on Facebook and sign up to be on their email list. Take-out and catering are also available.