Food, Wine & Spirits in St. Louis

Thursday, September 15, 2011 / 10:15 AM

Jilly’s to Debut Its Expanded Digs Tomorrow

Fans of Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Café jonesing for a cupcake fix can rest assured that their wait is almost over. The popular U. City spot, which has been closed since Labor Day to undergo an expansion and remodeling, will reopen tomorrow. It’ll take a round-the-clock push – as of Wednesday afternoon, the place was humming with drywallers, painters and other contractors, and the heat was turned on to help the paint dry faster – but owner Jill Segal and executive chef Dana Holland are determined to greet customers on Friday. And come hell or high gluten, Jilly's famed Sunday brunch should take place on Sunday.

The expansion, the second this year and the third since opening the original space in 2007, means Jilly’s now occupies the entire western half of the building at 8509 Delmar Blvd., relocating the entrance to the west side and doubling the square footage. It has also streamlined operations; prior to the remodel, cupcakes were baked upstairs and then sent downstairs for the whimsical decorating Jilly’s is famous for. “It was hours and hours of moving cupcakes,” Holland explained. Now, a new decorating room – complete with a large window where customers can watch the icing pros in action – sits behind the counter, and a remodeled kitchen means the cupcake baker no longer has to share oven space with the café’s cooks. The easternmost room in the space – Jilly’s original footprint – will be used for overflow seating and private events.

The menu will also undergo an expansion, one that could see the cupcake bar become equally known as “a brisket joint,” laughed Holland. After a few weeks to settle into the new digs, Holland plans to add several new salads and sandwiches, including the French Onion Schmear, featuring brisket topped with cream cheese blended with caramelized onions, roasted garlic purée and reduced brisket jus; the Road Warrior, a take on a Reuben with shaved brisket, Havarti, Thousand Island dressing and coleslaw; and the Jilly Philly, shaved brisket with white Cheddar sauce and jalapeños. Sweet tooths will be interested in the new Honey Bee – a grilled sandwich of natural peanut butter, honey-roasted peanuts and bananas on French toast – and bacon-lovers will like the modified club, which will sport double the bacon and a bacon jam.

The new menu items should appear by the end of the month, but the cupcakes will be ready to roll tomorrow morning – even if the paint’s still wet. 

Photo above of Jilly's expansion. (We know what you're thinking, but wait till you see it on Friday.)

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