The grand opening for Java Pi Café Bakery/Deli runs through March 25 at 2271 Northpark Drive in Kingwood, with business hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The idea to open a business of her own came to Rita Ritter years ago when she managed restaurants. She thought about it when she was a district manager for a salon chain. She kept the idea in the back of her mind even when she spent eight years as the nursery supervisor for the Kingwood United Methodist Church and the idea was still emerging as she spent recent years as a flight attendant for Continental Airlines. Finally, Ritter’s friends told her she needed to stop talking about building her own business and do something about it; so she did. She went to the Small Business Administration, drew up a business plan and found an architect to begin making plans in 2007. Construction began in September 2008 on Java Pi Café. Ritter said she spent a frustrating year and a half ironing out all the details and, eventually, everything fell into place. When asked where she came up with the name for her new business, Ritter said she always liked the name Java Pi for a coffee shop. When her new business became a reality, she still liked the name and thought it was fitting. “Pi is an irrational number that begins with three – I came from three (sisters), gave birth to three (children) and this is the most irrational thing I’ve ever done,” said Ritter. “I knew I couldn’t be a flight attendant forever so this was my plan.” Ritter based her model on a restaurant called Au Bon Pain, a French bakery she had seen in Boston, Chicago, New York and Houston. She liked the idea of people being able to pick out what they want, pay and go. “Customers seem to be having a hard time getting used to the layout we use,” she said. “It’s a ‘grab n go’ system where all they have to do is shop as if they were in a market – fill up their tray, then go to the check-out; they’re done. They either take their purchase home or stay, eat and relax.” The Java Pi Café is a place where healthy foods are served in a relaxing atmosphere with inside and patio dining complete with free Wi-Fi. Ritter has plans to include entertainment one night a week. The breakfast menu consists of baked goods, wraps, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruit and yogurt. Six different hot soups are available each day for lunch and dinner, along with specialty salads named after local schools’ sports teams and an array of sandwiches including ready-made, custom and specialty orders. Ritter said there are no fried or grilled foods and no carbonated beverages served. She plans to add delivery and catering soon. “We serve everything baked. The panini is the closest thing we have to grilled,” Ritter said. “I hope everyone will try our desserts.” For more information; call 281-540-3400. Photo: Rita Ritter, owner of Java Pi Café, is set for open house the week of March 18-25 at 2271 Northpark Drive, Kingwood. Photo by Trilla Cook

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