Self-pour Taproom and Pizzeria "Bru" to Fill Former Downtown Jamba Juice Location 

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Harrison Berry

The former owners of the Eighth Street location of Jamba Juice packed up their blenders long ago, but they're not giving up on the downtown space. In April, they plan to open Bru, a self-pour taproom and pizzeria.

"We're converting [the space] to a better use," said Bru Co-owner Debbie Kessler, who operated the downtown Jamba Juice and leases the space with her husband.

Bru will feature 30 wall-mounted beer taps that operate in similar fashion to the wine dispensers at Bodovino: Customers will put money on a card they can use to swipe for volumes of beer ranging from 1 ounce to a full glass. Prices for beer will start at $.45 per ounce, and sippers are encouraged to use an app to vote on and share their favorite beers with friends.

"We're emphasizing the social," Kessler said. "Come on down, drink a beer and make a new friend."

In the middle of the space will be a New York-style pizza bar. The pizza will be lightning fast: Kessler said the ovens can cook a pizza in 2-3 minutes, and the goal is for customers to have piping-hot pies in hand within 5 minutes of placing their orders. Kessler said she is still working on sourcing local ingredients, but offered up the possibility of having "Bru-tal sauce" on the menu.

The space will have seating for 25 people, and Bru is working with the city to obtain permission for outdoor seating, as well.

Kessler said she and her husband, Tod, got the idea for Bru after a visit to the Boise Tech Mall, where they saw models of self-pour taps. The same or similar technology has been implemented in other cities around the country. In Chicago, it's already a trend, with several self-serve taprooms, including Red Arrow Tap Room, Navigator Taproom and Tapster Chicago, opening in the last few years. Debbie is optimistic the concept will take off in Boise.

"I'm not going to say it's the first, but we're going to do it the best," she said.
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