About a year after it moved into White Star Market, MJ's Cafe is planning another Mid City jump, this time into the former space of Tiger Deauxnuts and Barbecue.
The restaurant, which specializes in plant-based dishes, is aiming to open in the new location, at 5162 Government St., in early September, said owner Mary-Brennan Faucheux.
MJ's Cafe moved from its original location on Jefferson Highway into White Star Market last summer when the business was unable to renew its lease in the space. Once Faucheux knew she had to relocate, she wanted "to find a warm and exciting venue that was close to my Mid City clientele," she said at the time. "I think White Star Market is exactly what I was looking for."
"We're very thankful we were able to keep our brand alive at White Star," Faucheux said Thursday. "And we're excited about expanding our vegetarian, vegan menu options to a larger scale."
Faucheux said she had wanted to eventually return to a standalone location in Mid City, and when she saw Tiger Deauxnuts and Barbecue had closed in May, she actively pursued the location.
The new space is around 2,500 square feet and will allow MJ's Cafe to return to being a full-service restaurant, able to seat about 60 people. Along with keeping its current staples, like the cauliflower wrap and barbecue chickpea salad, new menu items will be introduced and some older vegetarian dishes from the Jefferson Highway location will return, Faucheux said.
Renovations to the space are planned through August. "I'm very intentional about the space I want to create. I loved our old space very much, and I want to create a similar atmosphere," Faucheux said.
After things are finished, the space will feature a 10-person counter space, bench seating along the sides and table tops in the center, with a small retail area. Faucheux said her current staff will transition into the new space, and she hopes to hire four or five new people over time.
"We're excited to expand and really thankful for the Baton Rouge community for all their support and allowing us to keep that veggie dream going," she said.
White Star Market co-owner Clark Gaines said a new concept is being planned for the space currently occupied by MJ's Cafe, which will be announced in the near future.
Updates from MJ's Cafe can be found at facebook.com/mjscafebr.