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Categorized | Business, Food, Kids, Living, People

Spotlight: Wayne’s PBandU, a ‘Nutty’ Approach to an American Classic

Photos courtesy of Courtney Apple Photography

Main Line mompreneur Mercury Amodio with son Nesta.

Main Line mompreneur Mercury Amodio with son Nesta.

Peanut butter and jelly is as ubiquitous as cherry pie, Uncle Sam and Memorial Day Parades. Which makes Mercury Amodio’s (nee: Winberg) foray into opening a twist on the childhood staple, in the heart of downtown Wayne, all the more intriguing. PBandU, Amodio’s booming eatery with its magnificently mod interior that has a huge Main Line mom following, is one of those concepts that makes you wonder, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ A 2002 survey in Prepared Foods showed the average American will have eaten 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before they graduate from high school.

The 28 year-old Center City native attended CAPA as a vocal major, a creative and performing arts high school downtown, and holds a degree from Wagner College. Amodio cut her teeth in the music industry in New York, but moved back to the city in 2010 with her husband, Dusty. Last August, Amodio opened PBandU—six months pregnant with the couple’s first child, a boy. Baby Nesta arrived December 1st.

Amodio hired Main Line designer extraordinaire Barbara Balongue of Villanova’s Balongue Design to create an interior that was modern, fun and kid friendly. (Balongue is best known for, most recently, her breathtaking work on the interior design of Wayne’s White Dog Café.) The tables are all shaped in the motif of a peanut-purposefully with no hard edges—and there is plenty of space for the kiddos to run around without causing any damage. Amodio included a back playroom with a television and toys as well.

Fast forward to Spring of 2011, and PBandU is the hottest hangout for moms on the Main Line-and a trendy stop for adults looking to tap into their love of a childhood favorite. This past weekend the store had its two most profitable days to date. Amodio might just be on to something much bigger than her brick-and-mortar uber-chic eatery. Consider the J.M. Smucker Co. In 2005, sales of their Uncrustables sandwich line (a sealed crustless sandwich that has a long shelf life) had grown to $60 million a year with a 20% annual growth rate.

PBandU promises: “A one-of-a-kind peanut butter experience that's anything but ordinary.”  	  Pictured is a best seller: peanut butter, pickles, bacon and cheese

PBandU promises: “A one-of-a-kind peanut butter experience that's anything but ordinary.”
Pictured is a best seller: peanut butter, pickles, bacon and cheese

PBandU’s motto: ‘A one-of-a-kind peanut butter experience that’s anything but ordinary.’ Even extraordinary, perhaps.

AroundMainLine.com: Where did the concept of PBandU come from?

Mercury Amodio: This idea actually came about from my experiences as a child when we took road trips to New England. My dad always joked that there should be a peanut and butter ‘store’ that we could pop into. And, not just one sandwich choice but more along the lines of an ice cream shop where you control the combos and toppings. That idea never waned with us.

AML: And the name?

MA: The whole concept is ‘peanut butter and toppings,’ whatever you can dream of having with peanut butter. So, we started out with ‘Peanut Butter and ?’ and were trying to figure out exactly what to call the store. Then we decided on PBandU because it communicates that this is about peanut butter and whatever you, the customer, likes so it’s a personal and different experience for everyone—young and old!

AML: How about all the unique combinations?

MA: We really listen to our customers. Anyone can walk into PBandU with an idea and if we like it, we will add it to the menu. That’s really the fun of it! Tomatoes will be added soon because we keep getting that request. We also held a bunch of tastings with family and friends at my house, before we opened, where we created the menu based on experimenting and voting on all sorts of combos.

AML: I know what one of your top sellers is because I tried it and its {surprisingly] amazing-bacon, cheddar, pickle with peanut butter. I was a bit skeptical but its delicious! Why does that unusual combo work? What are other customer favs?

Wayne’s PBandU interior was designed by the prestigious Villanova design firm Balongue Design.

Wayne’s PBandU interior was designed by the prestigious Villanova design firm Balongue Design.

MA: It’s the salty and the sweet that work so well together. Another best seller is our Nutella, fluff and M&M-that’s the favorite for the kids for sure. It’s like having dessert for lunch. Then the parents tend to gravitate to the pickle/cheese/bacon combo.

AML: The interior design is really incredible-simple, modern and family friendly. I know you worked with the incredibly talented Barbara Balongue of Balongue Design.

MA: Nothing is an accident in here, its all very purposeful in a subtle way and Barbara did a great job with that. All the millwork is peanut butter-shaped; the tables have a peanut shape top to them. I would describe our space as quirky, colorful, mod and, most importantly, fun!

AML: What’s it like being a new mom and an entrepreneur all within the span of a year?

MA: Its been so great being a first time mom and coming to work being surrounded by moms and having that camaraderie. Nesta is a PBandU regular and I love the luxury of bringing my baby to work.

AML: Talk about the gluten-free options you offer.

MA: We have several gluten-free options. We use Udi’s gluten-free bread, which is delicious, and we use a gluten-free toaster to avoid cross contamination. Gluten intolerances are a big deal so we take that very seriously if a child, or adult, is requesting a gluten-free sandwich.

AML: I love that you roll out seasonal and holiday combos monthly too to keep it fresh and interesting. What’s on the menu for Spring here with Easter around the corner?

MA: Look for some PB and Peeps!

Fun Facts about PBandU

What: A Main Line family-owned peanut adventure which has become the hottest Mommy hangout in the western burbs!

Where: 163 East Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, PA

Website: pbandu.com

Mon-Thurs: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Fri-Sat: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Phone: 484-367-7799

Email: info@pbandu.com

Private Parties and Functions: PBandU is available to rent for private parties and fundraisers, corporate events and, of course, children’s birthday parties.

Interior Design and Logo: Balongue Design

Facebook: Join PBandU on Facebook

Twitter: PBandU

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