Commercial Progress Report

Keeping it Simple

by Walter Pierce

You'll like Black Café's coffee, and you'll definitely come back for its Scotch Eggs.

You'll like Black Café's coffee, and you'll definitely come back for its Scotch Eggs. By Lisa Hanchey

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Photo by Robin May

Black Cafe's Trey Ware

Shreveport native Trey Ware's reason to locate to Lafayette was simple: "I had to see about a girl."

Like his moving motivation, he named his coffee shop Black Café for a simple reason: "That's how I drink my coffee."

Ware came to South Louisiana to study at UL and LSU. While in Baton Rouge, he met Lafayette native Jodee Miller, and after going back to Shreveport for a year, he moved to Acadiana for good in 1997. "I decided to move back down and give it a shot," he recalls. Luckily, it worked. He and Miller have been married 14 years.

Ware began working in the food service industry behind the counter at a convenience store deli during high school. After moving to Lafayette, he worked at Ole Tyme Grocery. From there, he moved to CC's Coffee, where he learned the coffee shop business from the ground up. "That's something I've always enjoyed - coffee and food," he says. "I always wanted to open my own place."

That opportunity arose in early 2013 when the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority was searching for someone to open a coffee shop at Uptown Lofts.

On Oct. 17, the Wares launched Black Café on the ground floor of the development. "I wanted to have a place of my own where I could serve good, quality coffee and have breakfast and lunch," he says. "But, I also wanted to have a place that didn't have a fancy name or any type of corporateness' about it - just hey, come in, sit down, have a cup of coffee and everybody can be friends."

The Wares kept the décor clean and simple - concrete floors, a few tables and chairs and a coffee counter. "It was my wife's vision," he reveals. "She just wanted to have something with clean lines. We just wanted to make sure that it was a place where everybody feels welcome."

Up front is a glass counter showcasing pastries, bagels, coffee cake and banana bread. The cooler houses freshly made salads, sandwiches and wraps. Ware added his own specialties - sweet potato biscuits, beignets and cheesecake - made from scratch daily.

Black Café's most unique item is Scotch Eggs, one of Ware's personal favorites. These hard-boiled eggs are wrapped in shredded potatoes, pork sausage or chicken breast, then breaded and fried. Jodee helped him come up with the creative names: The Hot Potato, Pork Perfection and Which Came First (seasoned chicken breast). "I don't think there's anybody who hasn't liked it yet," Ware says.

Specialty sandwiches include the house-made pulled pork, 14-spice chicken wrap and burgers on brioche buns. Salads are a simple green salad, chef salad and grilled chicken salad (chicken, mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, blue cheese, dried cranberries, pecans, avocados and bacon). Desserts include fresh-baked chocolate chip or harvest grain cookies and Ware's homemade pistachio cheesecake.

The coffee shop offers a variety of beverages including drip coffee, café au lait, latte, chai latte, cappuccino, Americano, mocha, espresso, macchiato, con panna, hot chocolate and tea. Black Café serves only Louisiana coffee - Lafayette's own Rêve and Shreveport's Louisiana Roasting Company, which is also available for sale by the bag.

Black Café offers catering featuring hors d'oeuvres such as Cajun Coin Purses (fried boudin-stuffed mini-wraps), Sweet Piggies (hot dogs wrapped in sweet potato biscuit dough), cheesecakes and sandwich trays. The café also has a drive-thru where orders can be placed directly at the window.

Word has spread quickly primarily through word-of-mouth. The café has received rave reviews on Urbanspoon and Yelp. "Everybody has been unbelievably positive," Ware says.

Black Café is located at 518 Pierce St., Suite 100. Hours are Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone number is (337) 889-3862, and email address is [email protected]