Jewel's Bakery and Cafe in Arcadia: Happy Hour Report Card

Each week, we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.

The Spot:
Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe
4041 East Thomas Road

The Hours: Happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. every day, throughout the restaurant.

Perfect For: Those who can't (or won't) tolerate gluten, and the people who love them.

The Interior: Jewel’s Bakery and Café is housed in 40 Palms, a strip mall off of 40th Street and Thomas Road. It’s your standard neighborhood coffee shop, with a few low tables and booths, a glass case filled with baked goods, and a small patio. Local art and clever T-shirts give the place a little flavor, but the ambience is nothing special, and if you blink while driving down Thomas, you might miss the location altogether.

The Food: The happy hour menu at Jewel’s is simple: wings, Parmesan fries, green chile tacos, or mac ‘n’ cheese, each of them $4. (They are on the regular dinner menu for a buck or so more.) There is also a big ticket item: “Julie’s grilled cheese,” which is $7 instead of $9 during happy hour. The diner-style sandwich, with bacon, avocado and tomato, came with a basket of fries and no sign of gluten whatsoever. Unfortunately, it didn’t have much flavor, either, but Jewel’s only recently added dinner to their repertoire – they started off as a bakery and breakfast spot – so we’re hoping they are just still working out the kinks. Or, have we considered the possibility that gluten is the thing that makes food taste good?

The Drinks: Jewel’s peddles Cartel coffee, craft cocktails, beer, wine, cider, and sake on its drink menu, so it’s hard to imagine you can’t find something you like. During happy hour, $5 options include their strawberry jalapeño margarita, bourbon peach sangria, a pear cider, and a chianti, all a dollar or two off their normal price. High rollers might drop $7 for their Bloody Mary or organic cider, but we are no such rollers and stuck with the sangria. The drink was heavy on the bourbon, which we wouldn’t normally complain about, but for a peach sangria it felt a little too rich.

Conclusion: If it weren’t for its promise of a gluten-free experience, Jewel’s would be an only-okay neighborhood diner. But as celiacs and wheat-haters will tell you – it’s kind of hard out there to be gluten-free. More and more restaurants are making a conscious effort to offer something GF, or at least to designate the items on their menu that already are, but when it’s not the restaurant's primary focus, you just never know for sure. Jewel’s was founded by Julie Moreno, a baker whose daughter had severe allergies to gluten, who wanted a place where GF folks could feel safe and satisfied. Can’t say fairer than that.

Don’t Miss: The baked goods. They’re not on happy hour, but this is where Jewel’s really shines.

Skip This: The grilled cheese.

Grade: B-

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