An interview with the Chef

JJ Harris, Tim Campen, Jim Kavanaugh, Andrew Gorgol, Matt Burns

JJ Harris, Tim Campen, Jim Kavanaugh, Andrew Gorgol, Matt Burns

Hailing from Pell City Alabama, the venerable seat of Southern Hospitality, chef James J. Harris (JJ) is the heart of Lovejoy’s kitchen. Leading by example, teaching from experience, JJ guides a dedicated crew who share his high standards. As they say in the restaurant business, JJ has the “chops.” He trained with renowned Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar & Grill and Bottega in Birmingham, AL, another farm-to-table food mecca. When he moved to Portland, he forged his way into the kitchens of Simpatica and Café Castagna, then made his real mark as sous chef at Accanto.

Read his interview below to learn more about this amazingly talented fellow:

Q: What are some quirky/little known facts about you?
A: My first word was EAT!

Q: What’s your favorite Lovejoy dish and why should customers try it?
A: The pulled pork with green tomato pickles on brioche. I like the pulled pork because of the components it is made of: Crunchy, tart, pickled local green tomatoes. Tender, slow-smoked pork shoulder. Slightly boozy bourbon bbq sauce. Creamy cole slaw. Perfect on our brioche.

Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
A: With a nice glass of wine in my hand and dinner on the way to the table.

Q: If you could dress any way you want, what would you wear in the kitchen?
A: I don’t intend to disappoint you but I already dress exactly how I want.

Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: the hours, the food, the challenges, the people, its all a very close tie!

Q:Favorite meal in 30 minutes or less… GO!
A: I would get to Pho Hung as quickly as possible and order a number 1.

Q: How does Lovejoy stand apart from other bakery/cafes?
A: We have the best looking chef in town.

Thanks JJ! We love having you at the head of the Lovejoy kitchen!

Le Déjeuner — C’est si Bon!

This summer Chef JJ introduced a fantastic new twist on our standard cafe sandwich fare: the tartine. He brought us not one, but two, light and delicious varieties, both of which are vegetarian (if you eat NW eggs and albacore tuna, that is). Tartines are defined as “A French open-faced sandwich, especially one with a rich or complex spread.Our tartines are no different, served open faced on grilled french baguette, with lush spreads and paired with a textural salad of baby greens and frisee.
The egg salad tartine perfectly balances the rich, creamy egg with crisp celery and refreshing lemon and chives.
The tuna tartine features wild caught albacore tuna, smoky and sweet calabrian chilis, salty kalamata olives, bright shaved fennel and lemony caper aioli.

So what are you waiting for? Lunch on the boardwalk awaits your arrival. Bon Appétit!


Meet the Bakers, Week 4

This week’s ‘Meet the Bakers’ would like to introduce you Miss Melissa Halbleib. Melissa has been with Lovejoy for a year and a half and is our own breakfast sweet’s queen. She’s introduced new items like the Raspberry Chocolate Croissant, Strawberry Rhubarb Danish, Cherry Almond Danish and Peach Blackberry Danish. Baking at a very young age with her mother and grandmother prompted Melissa to leave her hometown in Montana and relocate to Portland to attend baking school. Lovejoy Bakers was the home of her externship and first professional baking position.
Meet Melissa!

Q: If you could bake for anyone, who would it be?
A: If I could bake for anyone it would have to be my Grandpa Becker. I think he would be very proud of the person I have grown up to be.

Q: If you were a bread, what would you be and why?
A: If I were a bread I would be Monkey Bread cause I’m kinda goofy, super sweet, and have lots of layers.

Q: What is your best at home baking tip?
A: Use room temp butter like the recipes tell you to. I always used to melt mine because that’s what my mom always did, but the majority of the time that’s incorrect. Soft does not mean melted.

Q: If you were to get a culinary inspired tattoo what would you get?
A: I’d probably go with a skull and crossbones style. Skull made of cake with a whisk and spatula crossbones.

Thanks to Melissa for making your mornings a little sweeter!
Have a great week.

Meet the Bakers, Week 3

‘Meet the Bakers’ is back and this week we introduce you to bread head, and resident funny guy, David Lee. Born and raised in Portland (it’s true!), David started cooking and baking as a young lad at home with his grandma. He first came to Lovejoy over a year ago through a culinary externship, and has been a behind-the-scenes star ever since.
David focuses exclusively on bread baking and has his hands on virtually every loaf. As you can tell from the photos below, David is known for keeping us laughing and making what we do lots of fun.

Q: Best at home baking tip?
A: Don’t slide things into an oven when the rack is pulled out… they will fall onto the burner and burst into flames.

Q: If you were to get a culinary inspired tattoo what would you get?
A: A cooked chicken fighting a gang of sunnyside up eggs (dressed as cowboys and pirates of course)…

Q: What time do you wake up for work?
A: The crack of dawn (9am) … (Clearly David doesn’t work the early baking shift, which starts at 3am!)

Q: What has baking taught you about life?
A: Life is salty and warm…

When asked what his biggest contribution to Lovejoy Bakers was, David said “JOY.” So there you have it. Happy Thursday and have a joyful day!

It’s baaack!


The masses have spoken. Our original Lovejoy Turkey Sandwich took a very brief departure. We heard the cry and are happy to ensure that you can enjoy our “Thanksgiving between 2 slices” any day of the week. Moist, juicy turkey slices accompany our housemade cranberry chutney, smashed avocado, and thick, meaty planks of bacon. Layered between two rustic slices of Country Bread (shmeared with Mascarpone cheese), Lovejoy’s Turkey Sandwich is back. Enjoy!

Have buns of fun on the Fourth!

Quickly becoming a “take-home” favorite, Lovejoy’s beautiful hamburger and hotdog buns are the PERFECT way to elevate your 4th of July celebration. Delicate enough to host a simple egg salad, but still hearty enough to support a big juicy burger or brat, these light and buttery breads have a perfectly moist, rich consistency that will make your cookout truly special. We offer them at our Lovejoy West location, 939 NW 10th Avenue. They are also available at the following fine establishments:
Whole Foods: Pearl, Bridgeport, Sandy, Fremont, Burnside
Zupans: Belmont, Macadam, Boones Ferry, Burnside
Sheridan Fruit


Meet the Bakers, Week 2

In this week’s ‘Meet the Bakers’ segment, we are pleased to introduce Miss Leah Williams. Leah comes to us from Maui, Hawaii and in no time at all has proven herself to be an incredible asset to our team. Although this is her first job as a baker, she has mastered the delicate art of mixing dough and has made some major improvements to the mixing process at LJB — and trained the rest of the staff on her techniques.  Leah has fine-tuned which person we use for which dough to get the best bread out of each batch… Our bakery is a well-oiled machine and we’re so happy to have Leah mixin’ it up!


Q: If you could have any super power to help you with work, what would it be?
A: My super power would be the ability to stop time. It would be awesome to just stop the clock and get an hour of work done in no time at all. Would come in handy when your swamped.

Q: What has baking taught you about life?
A: Everything in portion. Your portions need to be correct so whatever you’re doing is done right. Sometimes if your portions are off you discover something new. Sometimes it works, sometime it doesn’t, but it’s still about portions.

Q: If you were to get a culinary inspired tattoo what would you get?
A: I would get a sweetheart cupcake. It would have an anatomically correct heart as an garnish. I know it sounds kind of gruesome but I think if done right it could be different and adorable.

Q: Fav thing to spread and/or dip your bread in?
A: Cream cheese and fresh pico. Sooo good….

Yum, speaking of which, it’s always time for a snack… stop by Lovejoy to pickup some sweet or savory treats for your week.

Last minute Father’s Day Idea…


Yikes!  Father’s Day is this Sunday and if you can’t bear to give another golf shirt, necktie or tool caddy, consider the Lovejoy Bakers Truffle Trio!  At only $4.75, it’s a great way to show dad (dad-to-be, gramps, hubby, uncles, brothers) the sweetness of your love. Packaged with a gift bow.

Meet the Bakers, Week 1

All the goodies you’ve grown to know and love don’t just magically make their way to Lovejoy’s shelves. We have an amazing team of dedicated, wonderful bakers that work day and night to bring you the very best breads and pastries. Here’s your chance to learn about our fantastic staff:
First up is Sara Carpenter. She has been with LJB for two years, and her work has been nothing but solid.

Q: What has baking taught you about life?
A: Don’t sweat the small stuff, everything will get done

Q: Favorite thing to bake?
A: Anything involving the creaming method

Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Lardo – it’s hard to beat their double burger with dirty fries and a micro brew

Q: What products have you come up with?
A: Monkey bread, everything challah roll, and currently working on a chocolate almond croissant

Q: Best song for baking?
A: Under Pressure by Queen

Next Up: We wanted to give a little shout out to Kandice Brending. Kandice has also made wonderful contributions to Lovejoy as well including our Cinnamon Roll (lovingly called Kinnamon Roll by staff). Sadly, this is her last week with Lovejoy before she starts a new adventure.

Q: How did you start baking?
A: Ever since I was little I’ve been baking from scratch. My whole family called me little Betty Crocker growing up so none of them were surprised when I chose baking as a career. Later I became the head cake decorator at a Coldstone creamery and that continued my interest in baking and more specifically specialty cakes.

Q: Best song to bake to?
A: The best song to bake to hands down is Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest. I’m always dancing while i bake.

Q: If you were to get a culinary inspired tattoo what would you get?
A: I actually already have culinary inspired tattoos! I call them my finger utensils. I have a chefs knife, a rolling pin, and a spatula on the inside of three of my fingers. My parents weren’t super excited about them but I’m in love.

3 Perfect Ways to Make Mom’s Day

UPDATE: Orders are now closed for Mother’s Day Cakes, HOWEVER you can still stop by Lovejoy to pick up some lovely treats for Mom! Gift cards also make a great gift ♥

Mother’s Day is next Sunday May 12 and if you haven’t made plans yet, we have some great ideas for you. Since Portlanders LOVE their brunch, Lovejoy Bakers will be making some special additions to our menu!

1) Choose from Royal Eggs Benedict with Roasted Asparagus or a creamy Chevre and Spinach Strata crowned with a Sunny-Side Egg.

2)  We’ll also be offering a delicate Mother’s day Mimosa Cake, pictured above, made with pink champagne and filled with mandarin orange cream and frosted with orange buttercream.  You can preorder this cake on line (scroll down for order form) and have it inscribed with Mom’s name or another short message.

3) Pick up some chocolate dipped meringue roses (flavored with orange blossom water, yum!)… they are light as air and a wonderful gift, just because.

And one more thing, you may also order a CHOCOLATE VERSION of the Mimosa Cake filled with mandarin orange cream and frosted with orange butter cream. To order, complete the form below by noon on Thursday. We will have your cake ready to pick up on Sunday. Payment is received at the time pick-up.


Just in case you were curious…

Have you noticed that Lovejoy’s pastry case is growing? The many fanciful and delicious pastries, tarts mini-cakes, heavenly macaroons, salted caramels and homemade marshmallows are thanks to our long-time pastry chef Danielle Hoeft. A true “Sweet Genius,” Danielle always has something up her very creative sleeve. And that includes custom birthday and wedding cakes too.
To access our custom cake order form online, please click here. Of course you can always call the bakery and ask questions or place an order the old fashioned way. Scroll down to see more of Danielle’s blissful creations. Trust us, they taste as divine as they look!

Upper left, clockwise: Fig Roll and Chocolate Cherry Cap, Blueberry Orange Bread Pudding, Lemon Raspberry Tart with a Chocolate Crust and Meyer Lemon Cheesecake