Beignets are a staple of south Louisiana, but there are only a handful of spots in Baton Rouge to enjoy them.
“My parents were complaining about driving across town to go to Coffee Call, and I said, ‘That’s it. Let’s open a beignet and coffee shop,’” says Ryan Hobdy who, with his father Darryl, had been casting about for a new business concept.
The two launched Beignet Done That in July in Coursey Commons, a retail development on Coursey Boulevard located between Stumberg Lane and Jones Creek Road. The shop has already begun to draw big weekend crowds for beignets, beignet fingers, specialty espresso drinks and other items.
The location, a former Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake Pizza, has been retooled and refreshed with clean lines and comfy places to sit and munch on freshly made beignets. There’s also a drive-thru window for to-go orders. Traditional beignet squares and beignet fingers are joined in a beignet flight, comprised of pastries served with a choice of sauces. Options include chocolate, caramel, raspberry, matcha, white chocolate, honey, blueberry and strawberry. The flight idea was inspired by Hobdy’s personal dislike of powdered sugar, he admits.
“I would always order a beignet with chocolate,” he laughs.
Coffee is also a big part of the menu.
“I’m a coffee nerd,” says Hobdy, who runs the day to day operations. “I really like boldly flavored coffee with a lot of complexity. I’m looking for fruit and chocolate notes. I wanted to combine beignets with really good coffee.”
The coffee menu features several espresso drinks, including doppio, Americano, cortado, latte, macchiato, cappuccino, mocha and others. There’s also drip, French press, pour over, cold brew and nitro coffee. Specialty syrups, like lavender, white mocha, toffee nut, caramel and others help the baristas get creative. Hobdy’s personal go-to order is a decaf lavender oat milk latte. And for non-coffee drinkers, the shop serves teas, hot chocolate, lemonade, milk shakes, juices and soda.
The beignets are made fresh using a dough recipe that the Hobdy family developed from scratch after trying five different formulas. Its base is bread flour. Frying the beignets to the right crisp but tender consistency took a lot of trial and error, Hobdy says.
“If the dough’s too cold or the oil is too hot, they don’t turn out or they’re too dense,” he says. “It’s a lot harder than you think to get the right texture.”
And while Hobdy says they’re still perfecting the formula, the shop already has a lot of fans. Busy weekend mornings see orders for 500 beignets. “It’s insane,” he says.
Along with beignets, the menu includes simple breakfast items like breakfast sandwiches, biscuits and gravy and avocado toast.
Beignet Done That is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and currently from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Hobdy says Sunday hours will extend to 8 p.m. in September.