Acadiana Business

Johnston Street Java now brewing

by Leslie Turk

Independently owned Johnston Street Java, near the Grand 16 Theater, aims to shake up Lafayette's coffee house scene. Peter Martin, Marie Darby, Jeanine Cheramie and Randall Martin are part of the Judice family that is so deeply rooted in Lafayette's foundation. The siblings, four of Jean and Rosemary Judice Martin's children, have operated J&R Educational Supplies since their parents handed it over to them in 1990. Now, they've opened the doors (and window) to their newest venture: Johnston Street Java.

The shop, located in a 2,500-square-foot building just outside the Grand 16 Theatre, opened Nov. 1, with a few surprises after months of extensive renovations to the former vet clinic and anticipation from Lafayette's coffee connoisseurs and caffeine junkies.

Originally, the local owners intended to brew coffee and espresso provided by Baton Rouge-based Community Coffee. Instead, says Manager Nathaniel Johnson, the shop is serving coffee from Orleans Coffee Exchange based in the Crescent City. "Mostly, we wanted to offer something different," says Johnson. "We like that they're a really personal company, and they've worked with us well."

Johnston Street Java not only offers a full line of espresso and brewed coffee drinks including au laits, lattes, cappuccinos and frozen drinks called sucré, all of which can be enhanced with a host of flavors from MONIN (which makes premium natural syrups, and other gourmet and organic flavorings), but also serves hot teas, smoothies, milkshakes, Italian sodas, iced teas and a 24-hour cold brewed iced coffee - including red velvet, southern molasses, maple spice and pancake flavors.

To complement these choices, Nicole Stalnaker, the baker in residence, is turning out standard coffee house fare like homemade scones, biscuits and muffins. Triple chocolate cake, wedding cake, chocolate covered strawberry cake and cheesecake are all sold by the slice; chocolate and yellow cupcakes, and red velvet cupcakes are served sprinkled or sparkling; Oreos and pretzels are covered in chocolate and pressed with fleurs de lis and smiling faces to be devoured as a quick treat. Every week, Stalnaker offers a special "more extravagant" specialty cupcake. A variety of packaged biscotti and bagels are also available.

The shop has free Wi-Fi and a drive-through. It's open Monday-Thursday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 6 a.m.-12 a.m.; and Sunday 7 a.m.-10 p.m.