'Juju' usually refers to luck or magic, but in the case of House of JuJu, it’s a nickname given to one of the owners by her grandchildren. Either way, the restaurant has been good luck for those looking for tasty fare in Morro Bay.
A recent arrival to the Embarcadero, House of JuJu opened adjacent to Anchor Memorial Park on April 1. It’s the second family-owned location of a Clovis restaurant that itself is not even 2 years old.
Jaynae Franklin, manager of the Morro Bay eatery, explained that her family (headed up by parents Scott and Julie “Ju-Ju” Glenn) had owned a retail business in Old Town Clovis and “saw the need for some kind of place that would have coffee, beer and wine, and gourmet bites.”
Thanks to the inspiration of Franklin’s brother, those gourmet bites had evolved into gourmet burgers by the time the original House of JuJu opened. A family camping trip to Morro Bay sparked the idea for the second location, which — except for some seafood specials such as a fish sandwich and shrimp tacos — mirrors the well-received Clovis concept.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
With House of JuJu’s signature burgers, you have protein options of beef, turkey, Mary’s chicken breast, free-range bison or a Portabella mushroom. Then, you’ll decide between six burger styles: from the classic Betsy Ross with American cheese and all the fixin’s, to the Dragon Lady with house pickled onions and teriyaki slaw, to the JuJu Bleu — which in this case is also topped with crispy bacon.
The burgers also come with your choice of sides: chili, spring mix salad, the teriyaki slaw that tops the Dragon Lady, or roasted potatoes with one of seven dipping sauces. Note that fries are not in the lineup, but after you’ve tasted the roasted potatoes, you won’t care.
Just as in Clovis, there isn’t a fryer in the House of JuJu kitchen.
“We really debated that before we opened here, just so we could have fish and chips,” admitted Franklin. “But we decided to go with our concept of offering a little healthier spin.”
Thanks in part to a sensible and successful weight loss effort by a family member, the menu strives to offer a spectrum of eating choices. Yes, you can tuck into a big ol’ burger and even add additional bacon if you want. However, you can also get it without the bun as a “Burger in a Bowl” atop a bed of spring lettuce mix.
Several spring mix salads/wraps are available as well. They’re essentially meatless versions of the burger styles, such as the Athena with marinated artichoke hearts and feta cheese or the Leticia with Ortega chile, tomatoes, avocados and tortilla strips. In addition, there’s a JuJu Bleu wedge salad, and also several flatbreads with your choice of toppings and sauces.
Franklin noted that almost all the sauces and dressings for the burgers and salads are housemade, as is the clam chowder. The beef patties for the burgers are hand-formed as well, an approach that allows House of JuJu to easily offer a slider sample trio.
“We just really wanted to take things back to the basics,” Franklin said. “For us, it’s about the consistency and the quality.”
Spoken like a restaurant veteran, except for the fact that these two locations are the family’s first forays into the industry.
“I guess it was just about having the courage to do it,” Franklin said. “We’ve been trying to look at everything as the consumer — to do things the way we’d want it. For me, it’s all about the people, and I look forward to seeing our customers, especially a familiar face. We want people to feel welcome here, just like they would at JuJu’s house.”
HOUSE OF JUJU
945 Embarcadero, Morro Bay 225-1828
Hours: Daily from 11 a.m., current summer hours until 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday (may be closing earlier in winter); happy hour 2-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, all day Monday.
The scene: A casual, family-owned-and-operated eatery with views of Morro Rock and the estuary.
The cuisine: Gourmet burgers are the signature dish, but bunless burgers, salads, wraps and flatbreads also available; nine beers — mostly craft — are on tap, including five rotating.
Expect to spend: Burgers with side $12-13, seafood specials $13-15, flatbreads $7, salads/wraps $9.