Jupiter Cafe entered Tempo dining columnists' orbit about a year ago, when work began on the tiny, alien-green cottage on Talent's main drag.
Glimpses of the restaurant's Facebook page and occasional glances while driving past were for naught. It looked like Jupiter Cafe would never launch.
Finally opening about a month ago with a fun, funky, DIY decor, Jupiter Cafe looks as though it was formed over several years, layer upon layer, giving it the feel of neighborhood fixture.
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105 Talent Ave., Talent
Jupiter Cafe also bills itself as a juice bar, which takes up nearly as much space inside as the cooking does. Patrons can claim seats at four, retro stools fronting the bar, or the single two-top table. Outside, there are two more tables on the sidewalk and four in a nicely shaded side yard. The seating arrangement certainly recommends Jupiter Cafe in summertime.
Father's Day — my husband's first — gave us an occasion to try Jupiter. Because brunch service doesn't start until 10 a.m., we had plenty of time for the drive across the valley. Staff, apparently, were in no rush, as the sign remained turned to "closed" a good 15 minutes after opening, and the server clocked in just as I stepped up to the counter to order.
The breakfast sandwich, with bacon, egg and tomato (minus sprouts), was a no-brainer for me. And given the singular choice of hash browns as a side dish, I added those for a total of $7.50.
I was a bit disappointed that one of my husband's beloved dishes, a breakfast burrito, was absent from Jupiter's printed menu, despite its presence online. But Will favors lunch in the unlikely hours before 11 a.m. and gamely ordered the turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich ($10.50).
With Jupiter's fresh-pressed, raw juices so prominently featured, I couldn't pass up a favorite combination, carrot-apple-ginger-lemon. A 12-ounce Ganymede, as it's also known, costs $5.
The juice came out first, refreshing with just a bit of vegetable pulp. I craved a bit more zing from lemon and ginger but appreciated its wholesomeness.
Other items seemed to epitomize produce at its freshest. My hash browns had been grated by hand moments before cooking on the flattop. The spuds' superior flavor and fine texture reminded me of the ones my dad used to cook every weekend.
A thick slab of tomato rounded out my sandwich's hearty helping of bacon and hard-cooked egg, which I would have preferred a tad less done. The bread was sprouted wheat from Rise Up! Artisan Bread in Applegate.
Piled high on a ciabatta roll, Will's sandwich boasted thick slices of turkey oven-roasted in house. Cucumber, tomato, lettuce and sprouts added so much girth that I could hardly open wide enough to try a bite. House-made pico de gallo accompanied the sandwich's side of corn tortilla chips.
Burgers from grass-fed, Oregon-raised beef occupy much of Jupiter's menu, so I brought a burger-savvy friend for lunch the next day. The 6-ounce patties finished with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on focaccia cost $8.50. The same price purchased my avocado sandwich, also on focaccia.
Although I omitted about half the veggies, leaving just the avocado, tomato and cucumber, the sandwich was still impressive, with half-inch-thick slices of tomato and a chunky layer of avocado mortared onto each slice of bread. My friend pronounced her beef tasty, with the kind of flavor one expects from grass-fed animals.
I'm not sure if Jupiter lives up to the slogan "out of this world." Its simple, straightforward, wholesome fare rather seems rooted in the Earth's bounty. I'll keep an eye out for Jupiter Cafe's appetizers and dinner promised in the near future.