Amour Café opened this week just to the south of Liberty Park, brought to you by the creators of Amour Spreads, John and Casee Francis. Together with magical pastry chef and gelato goddess Amber Billingsley, the trio has built a neighborhood respite dishing up sweet and savory toast, salad, pastries, coffee and gelato treats.
In an interview with the couple while construction was occurring, John revealed the vision for the café. “We are creating something that will be a beautiful addition to the community,” he explained. “A place to visit. A place that will be more of a community element.”
True to the Francis’ philosophy of using local and regional ingredients in their own products, they envisioned the café as a further extension of their mission. Casee explained that their goal was to build upon the food revolution occurring in the community at large. “We are more committed than ever to being an artisan, handmade producer. It’s not about the volume, it’s about the quality,” Casee says of the Amour Spreads products that are once again being produced in their newly remodeled café kitchen. But the question they’ll continually strive to answer is, “How much of a relationship can we build with Utah farmers to help them become more sustainable in every way possible.”
To that end, local products—whether raw or transformed—are heavily featured on the menu at Amour Café. Toast comes from Eva’s Bakery while eggs are sourced from Clifford Family Farm. Even the chocolate chip cookies contain Solstice Chocolate.
Of course, the café gives Amour Spreads the opportunity to showcase their jams and marmalades in deliciously creative ways as well. Find the Black Mission Fig jam paired with gorgonzola in a flaky roulade or the Orange Habanero marmalade swimming in creamy honey habanero gelato. Billingsley has mountains of ideas up her flour-dusted sleeves she says and Casee has encouraged her to slowly introduce them to the daily offerings—ultimately to the delight of customers.
The café marks the culmination of a whirlwind 2016 for the Francis’ with the year only half over. In January, the couple traveled to San Francisco where they won a Good Food Award in the preserves category for their Black Currant Blackberry Jam. This spread is a nice balance of slightly musky black currants and beautifully ripe blackberries.
They returned to Salt Lake and immediately began work on the Amour Café remodel—in the space that had previously served as their jam kitchen. With tight, short windows of time between fruit seasons, they raced the clock to be finished in time for strawberry rhubarb jam preparation—their biggest seller. And the community came together to support Amour Spreads even during the remodel. Manoli’s allowed them to cook batches of their spreads in their kitchen on Mondays when the restaurant was closed.
Now, with a week of soft opening complete and plenty of adoring fans early on, look for Amour Café’s official grand opening the week of July 4th.
Amour Café is located at 1329 S. 500 East and is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.