Jake’s Italian Bistro and Brew has been the local hot-spot bistro in Uptown Yucaipa since September 2011.
Owners, Steve Babbitt and Jake Litras, uncle and nephew, are two of the most friendly people in town.
If you stop by, you may even catch Litras in the back cooking up a storm, or you may spot Babbitt working behind the bar.
When it comes to the restaurant industry, it’s easy to tell when owners give A plus service and a quality experience by the love they exude through their business, and let’s be honest, Jake’s Bistro is just that and more.
The sports bar and restaurant are both under the same roof at Jake’s Bistro. When you walk in to the left is the cozy sports bar and to the right is the sunny and bright restaurant.
A very special attribute to this bistro is that it gives students and even adults with disabilities the chance to build their work skills.
“Zach Jeune is part of the Transition Program at Yucaipa High School, he’s here Tuesday through Friday. Zach is the restaurants’ first blind worker. We have many other special needs students assist here as well; they fill salt and pepper shakers, clean table tops, and wipe down menus,” said Babbitt.
The owners enjoy helping out the community and giving back as much as possible.
“I enjoy giving back to the community. To give young adults work skills, that’s what it is, it’s a stepping stone. Some of our employees have worked here through school and became nurses and landed many other great careers,” Babbitt said.
“Steven Babbitt is awesome, he’s given a lot of opportunity to our Transition Program at Yucaipa High School,” said Nancy Hearon, YHS Transition Program employee.
The restaurant can seat parties of up to 20 people at one table. It also features a full mixed drink bar and over half a dozen flat screen TVs, with sports playing of course.
There’s also a full service patio for sport team banquets, rehearsal dinners and big birthday gatherings. The outdoor patio area is equipped with ping pong, heaters, and even an outdoor server.
“Our menu features a wide range of food from Italian to burgers to wraps to salads,” said Babbitt.
Jake’s Bistro super friendly staff, inviting atmosphere and versatility is what has made it a hometown success.
“The separate bistro and sports bar setting is what makes us different,” continued Babbitt.
Something special the bistro offers is catering for all events. They ask for catering orders to be placed a week in advance, but they can accommodate in as little as a one day notice.
“We recently partnered with Brewcaipa to raise money for local Yucaipians affected by the Las Vegas shooting about a couple months ago,” Babbitt said.
The outgoing and eager to participate owners also donateto Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce and are the host of Taste of Our Town at the Yucaipa Music and Arts Festival.
Babbitt also discussed some of the hardships that come along with owning and managing a mom and pop restaurant.
“Staffing the restaurant has been the toughest part. Yucaipa is a commuter location, so that means very busy weekends, people and sometimes employees like to leave town, and staffing the restaurant to provide the proper amount of service, and figuring out when customers are coming in is a challenge,” Babbitt said.
He says there are times he walks into the restaurant and recognizes everyone at the bar.
“I bar back and even wash dishes some days. I love staying in touch with the business. Jake is often in the back cooking and exporting food,” said Babbitt.
Some of the customer favorites are the lasagna and penne ala vodka.
“Without our community’s support we wouldn’t survive, they’ve been welcoming since day one. Yucaipa is the closest thing you’ll get to small town America, it’s great,” concluded Babbitt.
Monday is burger and brew night and Wednesday is 60 cent wing night.
Jake’s Bistro Chef Ron also makes spicy Jack Daniels and spicy Jameson sauce on special occasions.
The bar currently features 25 beers on tap, and tons of top shelf liquor to enjoy in a mixed drink or on the rocks.
Jake’s Bistro is open on football Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
For more information, visit jakesbistroandbrew.com or call 790-8750.