Located on West Georgia Street, Southern Velvet Cafe joined Casanas Village as one of the buildings introduced through Frenchtown’s ongoing development.
The restaurant is the brainchild of Stephanie Waldo. As part owner and head baker at the café, she came up with an idea to open a bakery while living in Missouri.
Alice Vala, who is also part owner and beverage alchemist, suggested that Waldo open a coffee shop that could still serve as a bakery but could also serve as a haven for those looking to relax and enjoy conversation.
With Waldo’s specialty in baking, grabbing inspiration from her great-grandmother, and Vala’s 10 years of service industry experience as a bartender and server, the café was a no brainer.
Waldo decided to come first to Florida to start the café and Vala came next.
“Since I’ve moved to Florida, life has been a lot better and I am happy about that,” Vala said with a smile when asked how the move from Missouri to Florida to establish the restaurant has been.
Judging by the looks of the restaurant and Vala’s smile, there’s no doubt that the experience has been enjoyable.
The café lobby exudes peace and the warm greetings and smiles from the cafe’s employees are the first experiences when a customer walks through the door.
But after the introduction, the hard part ensues: placing an order.
The vast menu practically covers the entire right side of the wall and ranges from fresh teas and coffees to unique breakfast choices such as the Croissant Cup, a sourdough croissant filled with a whole egg and stuffed in a cup.
For now, The BPS is their most popular product to date. Consisting of cinnamon and vanilla, The BPS seasonal latte gives the perfect balance of zing and sweet. Accompanying it with a warm cheddar scone, a cheesy biscuit-like treat, would only result in a huge mouth-watering fiesta.
After placing an order, a customer can either sit in the lobby or the main dining area next door.
Although chairs, tables, and free Wi-Fi are part of the highlights when dining in a coffee shop, Southern Velvet decided to take another step by adding a children’s play area.
With a great amount of space throughout the dining area, along with toys and padded rugs, the children’s play area doesn’t come short of an adorable area where not only children can feel like they belong, but parents wouldn’t have to feel overwhelmed with watching their children while trying to finish up some last-minute work.
Waldo and Vala’s main goal is to create a space for people of every race, gender and sexual orientation to feel welcomed without doubts.
“To me, being able to have that sense of community and togetherness is the best part in working here,” said Amanda Kleinhans, an employee at the café.
The café has been open for about a month. But after the grand opening on Aug. 4, Southern Velvet Café will officially be open to the public and will continue its attempts to spread positivity, good vibes and great food.