Have you heard of this great place at 3701 S. Lawrence St. called Jazzy’s Café and Events Center? It is somewhat off the beaten path, and that is part of its charm, but with easy access from South Tacoma Way or South 38th Street, Jazzy’s is perfect as a quick stop for takeout, or you might just find yourself wanting to sit and relax in its pleasant atmosphere.
First, there’s the menu. Jazzy’s brings menu items not found at other Tacoma eateries and that’s because they don’t have owner Patrick Hughes as the mastermind in the kitchen. He sees to it that Jazzy’s offers choices that satisfy the soul – from hearty sandwiches, chicken wings, burgers and fries, to chicken and waffles and build-your-own breakfast sandwiches.
Soups are a Jazzy’s specialty, and these aren’t the large batch varieties found at stores like Marlene’s Market & Deli and Safeway. Hughes prefers serving soups that tempt hungry people who want the soups they enjoyed going back to childhood.
“I wanted homemade soups like mom used to make,” Hughes said about introducing them to the menu. “My mom is 103 years old, and it is a pleasure to make the soup and sandwiches that she used to make for me.”
Jazzy’s tomato soup really is at the “to die for” level, and this is just one of the options that change daily: tortilla soup, gumbo, broccoli and cheddar, split pea, and specials created that day. For a full and delicious meal, enjoy soup and a half sandwich ($9.50) or whole sandwich and soup ($12.50), he believes it’s the best deal in town.
Next time you’re looking to try a new place for lunch, go to Jazzy’s and you’ll come back again and again. Call orders ahead for pick-up or get out of the office to sit and stay awhile. Jazzy’s Café is more like a living room than a busy deli kitchen, a place for a chill experience with no rush or loud surroundings.
Another Jazzy’s specialty is chicken and waffles but unlike the standard type. Born and raised in Mississippi, Hughes knows his territory when it comes to this southern culinary favorite, and Jazzy’s serves it with a delicious twist that you must taste to fully appreciate.
“Once you try it, this will be your place for chicken and waffles,” he said. “I’m a very good southern cook so I know what food is supposed to taste like.”
Smoothies are another Jazzy’s specialty, including its signature wine smoothie. Coffee drinks and teas are served made from Pittador Brews, an African American owned roaster and tea specialist in California. Instead of going for the usual at Starbucks, why not support an independent small business in Tacoma that features hot and cold beverages you can’t find anywhere else in town?
Hughes recently invested in a food truck that he is in the process of getting commissioned to operate as a mobile Jazzy’s Café to serve hamburgers, French fries, chicken wings, sandwiches, shrimp and grits, fried ribs, chicken and waffles and more. Look for this new addition to Tacoma’s food truck convoy in the coming months.
AN EVENT CENTER IS BORN
The story of Jazzy’s Café and Event Center is one of tenacity and a man who kept his eyes on the prize. It starts with Hughes purchasing the whole complex in which Jazzy’s is located and transforming it from the big open warehouse it used to be.
Hughes commissioned a large chalk drawing of Old Tacoma that hangs behind the counter.
“I drew out on a piece of paper this building with two stories and Jazzy’s Café in the middle,” Hughes explains. The warehouse roll-up doors became windows, office spaces were added, and Jazzy’s Café and Event Center opened as the crown jewel in the middle of what is now the M.B. Hughes Logistics Building.
Jazzy’s Café started off in 2012 as just a coffee shop with cookies and cakes. Soon sandwiches were added then Hughes secured a license to sell beer and wine. From there, the menu grew but the café still wasn’t at its full potential, so Hughes closed it in 2014 to think about where he wanted to take the business. In 2015, he leased it out for about two years, then the tenant moved out and he closed it again. Another potential tenant expressed interest in leasing it but that didn’t work out.
“I prayed about it and thought why don’t I open it back up myself,” Hughes said, which he did in November 2019, and he added soups to the menu. Then COVID hit and interrupted his stride in building Jazzy’s up to meet his dreams. In September of 2022, Jazzy’s reopened, and Hughes couldn’t be happier.
A special partnership came about when Jazzy’s hooked up with Griot’s Garage across the street and it has been a mutually beneficial arrangement ever since. For Griot’s “Caffeine and Gasoline” cruise-in car show on the first Saturday of each month, Jazzy’s is the service provider for the coffee and donuts. And we work together on many other events and adventures.
“During this time, I started thinking about how and what I can do to make this a community-based space,” he said, and this led him to make Jazzy’s available for event rentals.
As Hughes explained, “Our goal is to build an entertainment space here for the community. This is a community space. We want people to come here and have baby showers, wedding receptions, birthday parties, family reunions, meetings, and networking groups…. I want Jazzy’s to be more than just a place to come and hang out. I want it to be your community spot.”
On the first floor with the café is a conference room with a long, wooden carved table and comfortable chairs lining each side which makes the perfect site for business meetings and trainings, small business networking events, private fundraisers – the list goes on. The second floor above overlooks the café below and comes complete with tables and chairs if needed, a fireplace for the colder months, a big screen TV, and free wi-fi. The full indoor space can accommodate around 50 people and is handicapped accessible.
Outside Jazzy’s front doors, a big parking lot can be used for outdoor purposes and is big enough for 200-250 people. A portable fence can be set up to create sections like a beer garden or VIP area and a stage can be put in place as well.
The rental system is set up in a sort of à la carte fashion where anyone can rent the café portion, the conference room, the outdoor area, or all of it together. Hughes gives personalized service to learn what interested renters are looking for and he works to accommodate that. Whereas at other restaurants with gathering spaces for events you’re among the rest of the crowds but at Jazzy’s, you can have the whole place to yourself. It’s perfect for kids’ parties where non-alcoholic drinks can be served, or for those special father-daughter dates.
Renters are welcome to bring in their own caterer, or Jazzy’s can help with lining up a caterer or serving the menu items they serve daily. Adult beverages can be served or those who rent the space can get their own event permit and for a do it yourself no-host bar.
“You tell us how you want it to be run and I will set it up for you,” as Hughes says.
Hughes’ son, Patrick Jr., has made great use of Jazzy’s outdoor area for music events like Summerfest. It started last year with rap artist Twista and this year all attempts were made to bring Juvenile to headline but air travel threw a wrench into those plans. When Juvenile was scheduled to perform at this year’s Summerfest in July, he got stuck at the Denver airport due to bad weather. He was then rescheduled to come back in August only to be delayed for hours due to the plane having engine problems and he had to return home to New Orleans.
“We’re going to bring him back or someone different next year and this time we’re bringing them in the night before because we’re not going to have those problems again,” Hughes said.
Veteran owned, Black owned, and family owned, Jazzy’s Café and Events Center is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and weekends for special events. Jazzy’s is also available for rental seven days a week. Learn more at (253) 592-6169, jazzys.cafe.com or email [email protected].