Here’s how to think about Peanut Butter Jelly Time in Bloomfield: It’s your school lunch, more grown-up.

Lauren and Chris Firman, siblings and owners of the newly-opened Peanut Butter Jelly Time, grew up in a household where PB&Js were part of the family routine.

“Our mom would make us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our lunch every day,” explains Lauren Firman. “It seemed natural to open a store that serves our favorite snack.”

The classic sandwich has an undeniably delicious flavor combination that takes most of us back to our elementary school lunch rooms. Peanut Butter Jelly Time elevates the lunchbox staple with creative additions and variations that play on nostalgia while venturing beyond the three classic ingredients.

One of the most popular menu items is The Elvis. Named after the musician and inspired by his favorite PB&J, the sandwich “is toasted white bread with crunchy or creamy peanut butter, banana slices and drizzled honey, and they can add bacon if they choose,” says Lauren. “The salty sweet combo is spot on. We throw it on the panini press and serve it warm.”

Peanut Butter Jelly Time’s creation station. Photo by Emma Diehl.
Peanut Butter Jelly Time’s creation station. Photo by Emma Diehl.

Another favorite is the P.B. Waffle Time. The creation features peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiched between two Belgian waffles.

Can’t decide on just one sandwich? You won’t break the bank here. Sandwiches range from $1 to $5.

What makes these classic sandwiches unique, says Lauren, is the locally-sourced ingredients. The vast assortment of jellies come from Bread Spreads by Susan in Avella. “She delivers all of her jellies to us weekly, fresh. We have so many options; she makes an out of this world apple butter.”

The shop offers a variety of PB&J combinations in addition to grilled cheese, root beer floats and shakes. From the classic PB&J on white bread to peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls, the menu showcases the familiar flavor in a variety of combinations and presentations.

The menu has a variety of items for PB&J related snacks at any time of day. In the morning, visitors can sip coffee while snacking from the cereal bar. After dinner, guests can stop by for milkshakes or a sundae.

Chris developed much of the menu, naming items after siblings and family members. “We did a lot of experimenting with recipes before we opened up the shop,” Lauren explains. “There are things that are super funky, like sriracha or bacon, but it was hard to make something bad. The core PB&J sandwich is sweet. All of the ingredients go together really well in the ways we combine them.”

Peanut Butter Jelly Time’s extensive ingredient board allows customers to mix and match. Photo by Emma Diehl.
Peanut Butter Jelly Time’s extensive ingredient board allows customers to mix and match. Photo by Emma Diehl.

Visitors can choose from Peanut Butter Jelly Time’s creations or build their sandwich using the ingredient board. Customers are encouraged to snap a shot of their custom sandwich and tag Peanut Butter Jelly Time on social media for a chance to have the sandwich featured on the store menu.

Both Chris and Lauren have a background in hospitality and nightclub management. While a night out isn’t directly related to a classic PB&J, Lauren acknowledges the experience was excellent preparation for Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

“Everything I learned from there has applied here,” she says. “I make sure everyone is satisfied and leaves happy.”

Emma Diehl

Emma Diehl is a writer, blogger, and social media marketer working in tech and startups in Pittsburgh. She loves local craft beer and a well-crafted pun.