The founder of Umami Burger hopes so.
In America, food doesn’t get much simpler than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We’ve all had one. Hell, it might be the first thing you ever remember eating. But though foodie culture has tried to reinvent plenty of America’s food staples, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich has generally been left to the realm of preschoolers (though I’m sure the owner of dozens of uber-hip restaurants across the country would love to show me otherwise). But now, a guy with proven success in the restaurant game is hoping to take a sort of high-end PB&J mainstream. Yes, the first thing you ever ate, might be the next big thing.
Adam Fleischman is the man behind the successful Umami Burger chain, not to mention a number of other successful (and occasionally less successful) food ventures. His next big plan… well… It could best be described as a foodie version of Smucker’s Uncrustables – a round, pressed, crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. How can you even make a fancy version of that, you might ask? “Those are the frozen burgers version,” he told the LA Times. “Ours are organic and varied to the max. And fresh and artisanal, of course. And bigger.” They certainly come with more buzzwords!
According to Fleischman, the circular sandwiches from this new brand – which is called PBJ.LA – feature locally baked bread pressed in a patented crimping machine. But it’s what inside that really sets these sandwich apart from what your mom (or Smucker’s) makes. “House-made nut butters and jams, whose ingredients and flavor profiles fit nicely into today’s Southern California farm-to-table ethos,” explains the LA Times. “Jams made with rosé and stone fruit; nut butters from pistachios and almonds. There’s espresso and organic chocolate, cashew butter and mango chutney, apple jam and Angostura bitters.” Yes, it’s as if every food trend of the past decade is going to get shoved inside a sealed PB&J.
Though an exact opening date is not given, PBJ.LA will start exclusively as a single 12-seat stall at the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. And then, if all goes well, Fleischman hopes his hip PB&Js could be as big, or maybe even bigger, than Umami Burger. Sorry, crust lovers.