Four years ago, chefs Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta started Whisk at Fiore’s Bakery in Jamaica Plain before blazing a trail of pop-ups through Boston. Now they’ve come full circle, taking over JP’s Fazenda Cafe and carefully making it their own, gradually transitioning to a full-service restaurant while operating as a cafe seven days a week.
“We always wanted to end up in JP. It’s been quite the ride, but now the van is parked,” Kean says. Setting up shop next to the Forest Hills T stop, the new owners of the cafe, which will keep its name for now, are going hyperlocal with everything from the doughnut ingredients (“I’m foraging black raspberries out of the Arboretum,” Kean says) to the raw materials for the furnishings, which are being built by Kruta and installed after hours. “We found on Craigslist a huge garage bay full of 100-year-old chestnut. We bought it. It’s under a tarp in my backyard,” Kean says.
The Whisk team will schedule pop-up dinners two or three nights a month, “to go through the seasons as a supper club, get to know small farmers, forage in the woods.” The next dinner, on Aug. 20 and 21, will feature ramen served in bowls made by a local potter, as well as roasted Island Creek oysters with thyme biscuits and nasturtium jelly. Kean is growing both the thyme and the nasturtium. A tasting of Japanese and American whiskeys will round out the evening, which will also include live blues.
Kean doesn’t expect to start serving dinner full time until May. In the meantime, the 41-seat cafe is dishing out a roster of sandwiches on housemade sourdough bread (for example, smoked local chicken with homemade bacon and gochugaru peppers), locally roasted coffee from Fazenda’s Dedham roaster (including cold-brew) and housemade doughnuts with flavors that change daily but will always rely on local fruit.
“We’re preserving all the [summer] fruit,” Kean says, citing strawberries from Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon. “In the middle of winter, you’ll be able to have a strawberry doughnut.”