Food & Drink » Food News

Lemon Tree Co. Sandwich Shop Opens in Former Bleubird Space

by

LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson

Husband and wife Jasson Parra and Mayra Ruiz know they have big shoes to fill at 224 N. 10th St., but they believe the rewards of opening Lemon Tree Co.—a new artisan sandwich shop in the former home of the beloved eatery Bleubird—will be greater than the risks.

“[Bleubird] had a really strong place in people’s hearts, so I think [comparisons] will happen,” Ruiz said. “But I think based on what we’re doing, what the chef has come up with, listening to feedback and evolving with the community, I think we’ll be on good footing.”

Parra and Ruiz have altered the space, adding beige walls, bold black ceilings and yellow accents that pop against the neutral backdrop. The real change, however, is on the menu. Where Bleubird offered mostly classic sandwiches, the menu at Lemon Tree Co. will have some out-of-the-box creations—like the tagline states, ”sandwiches with a twist.”

The Lemon Tree Co. grilled cheese sandwich features three types of cheese (fontina, Gruyere and sharp cheddar), plus caramelized onion, cherry preserves and jalapeno-dijon aioli. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • The Lemon Tree Co. grilled cheese sandwich features three types of cheese (fontina, Gruyere and sharp cheddar), plus caramelized onion, cherry preserves and jalapeno-dijon aioli.
Some cater to vegetarians and vegans, like the
broccoli Reuben (roasted broccoli, sauerkraut, Gruyere and Russian relish), which can be made vegan by swapping out the Gruyere for Violife cheese. Parra, Ruiz and Chef Diane Dalton will also press a few nostalgia buttons with their innovations, like adding a layer of chips to the Toasted Fluffernutter and the Peruvian sandwich, a move credited to Ruiz.

“What was it you had that you put chips in, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is great?’” Parra asked his wife.

One of the unique sides at Lemon Tree Co. is the Savory Mushroom and Herb Oats, featuring mushrooms, thyme, sage, caramelized onions, red bell peppers and Parmesan cheese. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • One of the unique sides at Lemon Tree Co. is the Savory Mushroom and Herb Oats, featuring mushrooms, thyme, sage, caramelized onions, red bell peppers and Parmesan cheese.

“It’s a peanut butter and jelly with cheddar cheese Ruffles,” Ruiz said. “...It sounds really weird, but it’s something I had in high school, because those were the chips that were available, and I’d come with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from home.”

Another touch Ruiz added was the kid-friendliness of the space. The second level now sports a reading corner with a small mural of a lemon tree and shelves of children's books.

Despite the changes, Parra said he isn’t looking to entirely leave the legacy of Bleubird behind, considering the success owners Sarah and David “DK” Kelly had with the restaurant. In fact, when Parra heard the Kellys were closing their restaurant, he wanted to manage or buy it. When the Kellys decided to hang on to the name, Parra decided the opportunity to rent the space was still too good to pass up.

The new eatery still features nods to the Bleubird way. For example, Lemon Tree Co. offers house-made flavored lemonades, a specialty of Parra’s and a parallel to DK’s herb and fruit-infused sodas, and the shop will have limited weekday-only hours, at least for now.

Lemon Tree Co., opened its doors Tuesday, March 20, at 11 a.m., just in time Treefort Music Fest—so while it can’t yet boast Bleubird’s level of popularity, it just might have lines around the block from day one.