Sweet Jon's Cafe is in the Homewood neighborhood of Birmingham, AL. It is an immersive, thoughtfully crafted place, created by Joshua Blackwell, Executive Chef and Local Owner, Jon Woolley, Regional Creative Director, Thomas Jordan, General Manager, and Missy Roll, Regional Bar Director. We asked Joshua and Missy what Sweet Jon's means to them.
What is the driving spirit or idea behind Sweet Jon's Cafe?
JB: At Sweet Jon’s, we work to create a positive and vibrant environment that transports our patrons when they walk in the door. Our team celebrates creativity, collaboration, and experimentation. We serve up a culture of evolving service, plant-forward food and beverage offerings that promote wellness and a sense of place, while sticking close to our roots of Southern hospitality. The café is named after my partner of nine years.
Jon is synonymous, to me, with all things from the earth. Over the years, he has cultivated many bountiful gardens. Jon has always made time to create beautiful spaces that inspire well-being and celebrate the present. When I got the opportunity to open this cafe, I wanted to bring that energy to this space. Simply put, it is a love letter from one man to another.
What is your favorite thing about Sweet Jon's?
JB: When I think about Sweet Jon’s Cafe there are so many things that bring a smile to my face, but my team members are the ones that keep me going. We have an amazing and eclectic team that bring so much energy and such a great point of view. I am inspired daily.
MR: I completely agree.
Any favorite cocktails, menu items, must-try coffees?
JB: I have to say, when it comes down to it, the Beans and Cornbread has to be my favorite menu item. There’s something about the combination of butter beans, cornbread, cured pork, and chow-chow that transports me back to my childhood in the south. I can’t get enough of it.
MR: I love so much happening at Sweet Jon’s Cafe that it’s hard to find just one special item – but the Haymaker’s Punch, a cocktail on our brunch menu, is very close to my heart. It’s a riff on a Colonial non-alcoholic drink. Maids of the field would bring the workers drinks of vinegar, ginger, and honey to help quench their thirst. Cold water alone would upset the stomachs of the field workers, so the addition of vinegar would settle their stomachs and satisfy their thirst. Vinegar helps with digestion, and ginger has a multitude of medicinal properties. I create my own shrub with vinegar, ginger, grapefruit, and rosemary, and pair it with gin. It’s a tangy, sweet, satisfying cocktail that leaves you feeling invigorated and refreshed. Ready to conquer the fields...or the day.