For some breakfast is the quintessential meal even having it for lunch or dinner. Visiting or living in the South you are exposed to wonderful items like grits or biscuits and fried chicken seems to have a special place in southern cuisine. In 2015, Kelly Fields along with partners in the BRG(Besh Restaurant Group,) opened a bakery/restaurant focusing on the baking aspect of southern cooking (think biscuits, country bread, pastries,) and mixed in a restaurant with breakfast, lunch and dinner and you now we have the restaurant, Willa Jean.
Named after Kelly Field’s grandmother who inspired Fields to follow her passions, Willa Jean is the blending of breakfast into lunch and dinner while honoring the idea of simple southern cooking with just the right touch of culinary artistry to give the experience a homey urban chic feel. Willa Jean opens at 7am and does breakfast thru dinner with brunch on the weekends. The breakfast menu features the section “the biscuit situation,” and explores the wonder of food between the halves of a freshly baked biscuit. I had stopped in around 10:30 and was pleasantly surprised to find the menu still had some of the breakfast snacks/appetizers, as well as a full lunch menu. I immediately was drawn to the Poutine, ( fries, cheese curds, brown gravy, grass fed short rib from Colorado) one of my favorite decadent appetizers. I balanced it out with the chicken salad, salad. I was not too hungry and was asking the server, Adam, about portion sizes and he suggested I get a half salad. Not mentioned anywhere on the menu, I immediately liked the experience because Adam could have kept silent and probably would have gotten a bigger tip with a bigger total, but he was more interested in satisfying my needs, which did pay off for him in the end as I tipped more than usual because of his service.
No matter what you do, don’t skip dessert. Fields is a pastry chef, so coffee and sweets are of great importance. WJ partnered with Intelligentsia coffee to create a blend unique for WJ and the desserts are available morning noon and night. The chocolate chip cookie is served with vanilla milk and a mixing beater covered in cookie dough. Take a moment and let yourself feel like a super happy child for a few sweet delicious moments. Willa Jean is open seven days a week and brunch is on the weekends. Reservations are recommended because Ms. Fields just won the 2019 James Beard Award for Pastry Chef in the South.