Tea-slinging robotic arms, mini bars in train cars, and now a cafe inside Jenny Lou’s? What a time to be alive. The expat sanctuary for all things dairy, baked goods and booze just opened a new location in Liangmaqiao called Jenny Lou’s Green.
The deluxe space is airy and bright, thanks to the natural light flooding in from the large glass windows, and hosts plenty of group-friendly seating. Aside from the typical shelves full of glorious imported goods from basic necessities to gourmet splurges, the upgraded store appears to have a more carefully curated inventory of natural, healthy products – hence the updated name.
Having been around for 25 years, Jenny Lou’s is too smart for its own good – but don’t hate the player, hate the game. They’re just here to give the people what they want (and the people apparently want cute ice cream bars and Japanese soda to match with their outfits).
The fresh concept is the brainchild of Lu Qi, the heir to the mom-and-pop shop-turned-supermarket superpower, who came back to China after living in the US and was looking to bring something new to the table in the well-established family business. We mean that quite literally as he’s the man behind the new in-store dining concept.
The menu offerings at Caffe Luigi, as it's called, cover a wide array of dishes. From salads and sandwiches to soups and pastas – it’s classic cafe cuisine as you know it. We try the Sicilian seafood salad (RMB88), a cool mix of octopus, mussels and shrimp, and the deluxe club sandwich (RMB58) stacked high with layers of avocado, tomato, turkey, bacon and egg, making it impossible to bite. We try anyway but fail miserably as half of our sandwich guts end up on our plate. (Note to selves: Must learn more effective sandwich-eating techniques.) A much neater option, the creamy mushroom soup (RMB38) is savory and filling with every spoonful.
Located a few steps away you’ll also find a mini sushi stand, where you can order sushi to be prepared for you on the spot, and even a surprising collaboration – a small booth operated by Pebbles Courtyard, the Mexican restaurant in Wudaoying. With this being their second project, they’re taking it slow, just operating during lunch hours for the time being and dishing out hearty burritos and taco bowls. Choose from a range of fresh toppings and homemade salsas, as always.
Basically, the new Jenny’s tells a timeless success story – it used to have a little but now it has a lot. Are we right, J Lo?
[Images via Jenny Lou's]