An Italian café and a boutique clothing store walk into a bar...
OK, it's the start of an impossibly bad joke. Fact is, it's happened in Jupiter.
Less than two months ago, Café Bellissima and Le Sassafras Boutique in the Jupiter Yacht Club shops joined forces for a unique experience: a menu including great breakfasts, pastries and coffee, with a boutique featuring many one-of-a-kind fashions, accessories, shoes and gift items.
The café has the feel of a small neighborhood coffee bar - if your neighborhood offers an up close and personal view of yachts and condos in the million dollar-plus range. Le Sassafras has actually been open for over a decade, but the lure of coffee, teas, fresh pastries and breakfasts featuring waffles, bagels, eggs and fresh fruit has helped bring new shoppers into the store.
Baristas Michael Moyer and Alexia Howald know their products and are not shy about what they want you to try. They are gentle but earnest and can give you all the details about their coffee beans, what fresh fruit is best to top your waffle or where to park your bike after that long Sunday ride. The indoor seating features unmatched chairs paired with small round tables covered in flowered linens; charmingly reminiscent of a European sidewalk café. Outdoor seating provides a nicely shaded view of the marina.
Service is unhurried but well-paced. Your choice of beverage, by the cup or French press, will come out first. Try the vanilla sugar as a coffee sweetener; Michael suggested it, and it's very good, particularly with the "Godfather" roast, the strongest variety. Hot cream is served with your coffee, another nice touch. You can order a simple scone, muffin or Danish, or go with a substantial egg and meat combination on a bagel or croissant, a slice of the day's quiche, or those fruit and whipped cream-topped waffles. And you get everything with that view. Then you have the option of strolling the marina and wishing that yacht was yours, or shopping off the calories in the boutique, where most of the items are American made, and some items, such as the collection of colorful scarves, are locally crafted. The café's food is freshly prepared, portions satisfying without being huge and the coffee is addictive. The boutique offerings are on the expensive side, but keep in mind that items here are not going to be found on department store racks.
Despite the presence of expensive maritime machinery, expansive condos and even a hotel, this section of the Intracoastal still seems wild, secluded and quiet. The expansion of Harbourside just to the north means more retail, more traffic and more people coming to this calm corner of town. Enjoy the beauty of Café Bellissima (and shop Le Sassafras, too) before the crowds get here.
Café Bellissima, 400 U.S. Highway 1, Suite 1, Jupiter, FL. Open daily 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Phone (561) 401-5916. Le Sassafras can be reached at the same phone number.