A new café in North Naples plans to start serving breakfast and lunch during the first week of August.
Blu Jam is coming this summer to the Uptown Center suite that formerly was Araya Sushi Asian Grill until it closed last fall after operating for more than nine years next to CiCi’s Pizza. That space at 2650 Immokalee Road, just east of Sam’s Club and Airport-Pulling Road, also previously was Dunkin’ Donuts.
The restaurant is co-owned by North Naples residents Taulant Lako and Jon Mane. They chose the name Blu Jam because it’s catchy and sounds fresh, modern and exciting.
“We’re looking to do more fresh, like fresh juices, smoothies, espressos and cappuccinos,” Mane said.
Part of that freshness is an energetic effort to attract all generations. “We want to have a place where a young crowd will be attracted, as well as older folks,” Lako said. “We want to make it more like a fun place — exciting to the local community, as well as the tourists.
In addition to being co-owner of Blu Jam, Mane will be the manager of the new local restaurant. “We’ve been working together at Patio for the last 10 years,” said Lako, who also co-owns Patio Cafe and Greektown Taverna in North Naples.
Blu Jam’s menu will feature traditional American breakfast fare — eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, skillets, benedicts and French toast platters — and lunch menus will consist of burgers, sandwiches and fresh salads. “We will have a list of beer and wine, as we’ll have a mimosa bar,” Lako said.
Dinner service may be considered in the future, but the cafe will focus on breakfast and lunch selections now that are made fresh daily. “Pancakes will be one of our specialties, as well as omelets,” Lako said. “We do fresh eggs and fresh pancake mix every morning.”
That freshness will extend to midday meals too. “Our salads, I think, are going to be a big catch at this place. We’re going to have fresh fruit salads, good sandwiches and we also do fresh smoothies,” Lako said.
Blu Jam features 65 to 70 seats inside and also has an outdoor patio on the east side of the building with another 40 to 50 seats for dining al fresco.
“We are looking to get everything ready. We still have a few more things that need to be done,” Lako said.
As far as getting the cafe ready to be open, a few more employees need to be hired. To open in the off-season, Blu Jam needs about 10 employees, such as servers, cooks and dishwashers, Mane said. “As it gets busier and busier, we’ll start hiring more people,” he said.