A new locally-owned coffee shop has opened in north Baton Rouge, an area that for years has longed for economic investment and growth.
Southern Grind Cofé, located near Southern University, is offering specialty coffee drinks, smoothies, juices, baked goods and more. Owner Horatio Isadore, an Alexandria native, opened the cafe in a leased space at the corner of Swan and Scotland avenues, just off Scenic Highway, because he saw the need for a coffee shop in an area frequented by Southern students.
“People told me nothing works in this community and nothing like this has been done around here. We’re making history,” Isadore says, who previously worked at a coffee shop in the Southern University Law Center. The shop closed around 2013.
Southern Grind Cofé, which bills itself as “unapologetically original,” aims to attract African-American coffee drinkers, though Isadore stresses everyone is welcome in his cafe.
Area leaders have sought for years to reinvigorate north Baton Rouge through economic development, and the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District was created to that end.
BRNEDD interim director Rinaldi Jacobs says the coffee shop could spur other business openings in the area.
“There’s a lot of consumers in north Baton Rouge taking their spending money to other areas of the city,” Jacobs says. “There’s fertile ground and opportunity for people to come into a new market here.”
The cafe currently serves River Road Coffees products. Light, healthy food options will also be added to the menu starting next month. If the business is successful, Isadore says he would consider opening more locations in the future.