Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Magpie Cafe Getting A Huge Buzz

I had done some consulting work for a young couple in Baton Rouge, at their home, and for a new venture they were launching called the Magpie Cafe. Lina, the lady of the house, has a natural talent for interior decor, and the new home she and husband James had just moved into was off to a good start. I helped with a floor plan, and pointing the way to further what they already had going on. Sometimes a second, experienced opinion, and a sounding board is all that it takes to move a project along.

As the house was getting done, they told me they were chasing their dream of working for themselves. Both had long professional careers, straight jobs that they enjoyed well enough, but they felt ready to do something they were truly passionate about.

James and Lina Jacobs owners of the Magpie Cafe in Baton Rouge

So they decided to open the Magpie Cafe in Baton Rouge. They called me in to weigh in and consult on the floor plan and decor. The space was a former tattoo parlor/hair salon. On a tight budget, they would have to implement the ideas themselves, so armed with a punch list, they were off. They thought they'd be open in a month.

Magpie Cafe - 3205 Perkins Rd. in the Perkins Overpass area - Open 7 AM - 5 PM Monday-Friday, 8 AM - 5PM Saturday, Closed Sundays - Web site under construction

Of course, many issues cropped up from parking zoning, to whatever else comes up when you have to do some renovation. Needless to say that one month stretched into many before they could open, and with no regular paychecks coming in, and no income from the cafe coming in either, nerves were frayed.

The front part of the Magpie Cafe - Lina used a line of wall lamps from West Elm to great effect

Being true to their vision gave them the confidence to weather the storm, and the Magpie Cafe opened in May. Their vision is clear: Serve fresh truly local food and the best coffee, in an uncomplicated, honest, and charming way.

Great coffee made in a great espresso machine

The focus is an espresso bar. James is passionate about artisan coffee, and I swear to God he makes the best cup of coffee I have ever had. He would make coffee for me when I was at their home helping out with the decor, so I could not wait for the fancy espresso machine at Magpie to fire up and produce a cup of coffee for me.

The best cup of coffee I have ever had comes from the Magpie Cafe

The decor is clean and unpretentious. Tolix chairs, green top cafe tables, wall lamps from West Elm, glass cake pedestals and cloches, and charming student art graces the walls (at very affordable prices). Lina is an art collector, so the pieces she chooses are very good. Graphics favor nice typography, and Lina designed a wall made from $100. of reclaimed wood from The Green Project, that she and James installed themselves. Upgrades will come with time.

The wall that Lina designed from reclaimed wood has already caused a stir - Locals call it "The Wall" - Steal this idea! I also love the vintage lamp and coffee table paired with the comfy leather chairs

Tolix chairs in the dining room

A farm table Lina acquired to use for family style community dining in the cafe - Student art work graces the walls

Student art at Magpie - $15.!

Portrait of Red Velvet Cake

Love this guy - Student art work at Magpie Cafe

So cute - Student art work at Magpie Cafe

Charming graphics everywhere - Service is attentive and  laid back

Rest room door sign

Rest room door sign

Even the to-go cups are cute and eco-friendly

Lina loves healthy food, and she is presently making all the food, baked goods, sandwiches, soups, and salads at Magpie. She says she  is not a chef (yet), but once again as she is blessed with natural talent in home decor, she is blessed with natural talent is food preparation.

Lina prepares food with love in the kitchen

The menu changes everyday (go the Magpie Cafe Facebook page to see the daily menu). Lina opens the cafe at 5 AM with a barrista, while James shops the local organic markets for the food Lina will prepare for lunch. Lina makes creative, uncomplicated food, with some surprising and delightful flavor combinations. Her food tastes like food, if you know what I mean.

Shared lunch on the day I was at Magpie Cafe - Fresh and delish!

The sandwiches are all heated in a Panini press. There are two sandwiches choices, one Vegan and one with meat. There is a soup, and a salad offered as well. And it all sells out early. Only enough is made fresh for that day, so when it's gone, its gone. Lina also makes the baked goods, fresh and organic and so yummy.

Everyone in Baton Rouge is talking about the Magpie Cafe HERE

Lina plans to offer more retail. Right now there is a collection of great glass containers for sale.

Well priced glassware for sale at Magpie Cafe

Love these bottles for sale at Magpie Cafe - Perfect for flowers

The buzz around Baton Rouge about Magpie Cafe is tremendous. There has been a significant amount of local press, but the word of mouth is even more exciting. Top chefs are stopping by for a bite, and everywhere you go if you mention Magpie, people are already hooked on it, or dying to check it out.

Live What You Love, the motto of Lina and James Jacobs - This sign was in their home office, and now hangs at their  fabulous Magpie Cafe

So if you live in Baton Rouge, lucky you. If you are passing through, stop by and get something really good to eat, and the best coffee ever. Lina and James are excellent hosts, and the space is open, airy, pretty, and friendly. Their motto is Live What You Love, and it is infectious.

PS Stay tuned. A little buzz is also going around about the 2009 US Salon Tango Champions hosting a once a month tango night at Magpie Cafe...

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  1. We have a similar Cafe/Coffee House in my area and it is filled with the most wonderful baked goods local art (for sale), including jewelry, accessories brought into the store by local artisans. I can't tell you how many meetings I have had in the last year there and each time, I spend as much time perusing the incidental offerings as I do the coffee and food. This has become the best gathering place in the neighborhood for both professional people on their way to work, families stopping by on the week-end and those who want to have a simply good cup of java and take a browse at the latest artwork. Congratulations to this young enterprising couple. Hope you have many years of success.

  2. Sounds like my kind of place. I'd definitely try it if I lived close. Oh...Tango night...that will be fun. Love the decor.

  3. Aw, I love Baton Rouge! And that place looks great :)

  4. What a great looking place. I love the art!!!

  5. Can't wait to try it next time I'm in Baton Rouge or just passing through. Most of my road trips are planned around food so this is perfect .... breakfast in Lafayette, lunch in Baton Rouge!!

  6. I loved this post Valorie. It is so nice to see someone realize their dream in such style!

  7. Perfect timing! My friend and I were talking about grabbing lunch here just this week. Now we must!!


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