Cafe Jeet is opening its doors this week to give neighbors a taste of what the small South Philly spot will be offering when it officially opens later this month. For now, stop in to sample the goods for free during the soft opening period.
“We’re still working on our menu. Right now we’re feeling out the kitchen, feeling out the product. We’re giving away what we’re making,” says Michael Tuono, one of three co-owners. The cafe, on 1850 W. Ritner Street in the former Relli’s Bakery, is a sweet-meets-savory collaboration between Tuono and Tom Deeney of T&N Homemade Kitchen and Kaylyn Kahana of Kay Kay’s Cakes.
The full menu isn’t finalized just yet, but Tuono rattles off a long list of what to expect: scones, tarts, cannoli, croissants, cakes, Italian cookies, muffins, bagels, soups, salads, panini and pizza. Prepared foods, like sauces (including crab gravy), meatballs, chicken cutlets and broccoli rabe, will also be available, along with custom cakes by Kahana, who customers can watch decorating the desserts behind glass.
To drink, there’s Philly Fair Trade Roasters coffee, cappuccino and espresso. But be prepared to get that coffee to go, at least until the weather warms up: There’s no seating inside. Four or five outdoor tables, with seats for 12 to 16 people, plus Wi-Fi access, will be added later.
Cafe Jeet (the name is Philly slang for “did you eat?) is on a loose schedule this week, with plans to start selling menu items instead of giving them away in a few days. The regular hours, starting next week, will be 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.
“We’re really just letting the neighborhood come in and introduce themselves, and we’re introducing ourselves to them,” Kahana says. “I live on this block. It’s a very tight-knit neighborhood and I think this is going to be a great neighborhood spot — an ‘everybody knows your name’ kind of thing. And I hope the cakes also bring in people from surrounding areas.”
Keep an eye out for the grand opening celebration, which doesn’t have a set date yet but will “probably be on a Sunday a couple weeks from now,” Tuono says. “It will be a full giveaway day of all of our products, and a nice cake made out of our logo.”