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Way Down Yonder Beignets & Coffee Nears Downtown Opening

Susan Post Susan Post Way Down Yonder Beignets & Coffee Nears Downtown OpeningPhoto courtesy Captured by Chrissy Photography
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The sweet scent of beignets will soon be gracing Main Street Downtown.

A staple of the New Orleans cuisine Way Down Yonder has been serving up on South High Street since 2019, the fried confection gets to be the star of its own show with Way Down Yonder Beignets & Coffee, 386 E. Main St.

“The beignets had really taken a life of its own and were extremely popular,” says Beignets & Coffee Co-Founder  Rickelle Viney. “It was sometimes even difficult for her to keep up with demand.”

Viney will join her cousin Way Down Yonder Chef and Owner Yonder Miller in the operation. She says that the pandemic gave Miller time to reflect on her existing restaurant. Realizing the beignets could hold their own, Miller floated the idea to Viney and she was taken with the concept.

While many have attempted to make a beignet, Viney is excited to show Columbus the New Orleans treat in a true-to-its roots take.

The menu will be small, but pack a punch. There will be traditional beignets with just powdered sugar, but also amped up versions like stuffed Oreo, pecan praline, bananas foster and strawberry crunch. The menu will have a savory side, too, with shrimp & grits, New Orleans specialty boudin balls and a southern breakfast.

With young, driven chefs straight out of culinary school at Columbus State, Viney is excited to let their kitchen staff flex their creativity through weekly specials. Viney says that while the menu certainly demands certain things done a specific way, they don’t want to stifle their new chefs by just having them cook someone else’s food. For diners, that means there will always be something new to try.

As for the other half of the restaurant’s namesake, Way Down Yonder Beignets & Coffee has its own signature brew – a medium to dark roast with notes of hazelnut, plum and brown sugar. They’ll also offer espresso drinks on a menu that’s still being finalized.

Taking over a former Tim Hortons location, the address provides the operation a trifecta not easily found Downtown: a patio, parking AND a drive-thru (plus, it wasn’t a stretch to go from coffee and donuts to coffee and beignets).

The drive-thru will be operational, but Way Down Yonder will approach service with a unique twist that’s a sign of the restaurant times. The restaurant will be cashier-less, with both drive-thru and walk-in customers ordering through QR code. In the drive-thru, customers will pull up to a QR code posted outside, order on their phones, and pull up to the window for pick-up. Inside, there will be QR codes at every table, and an order kiosk, with guests receiving a text to pick-up their food at the counter when it’s ready.

Viney says they didn’t want to open the restaurant expecting things to be the same as before the pandemic. Instead, they wanted to be prepared for the current industry climate and think of ways to address potential employee shortages out of the gate.

But Viney does hope that after months and months of being cooped up, people will be ready to get back out into the world, and Way Down Yonder & Beignets and coffee will be a place that they can enjoy a little taste and a little culture of New Orleans.

An exact opening date has not been set, but Viney promises it will be soon. Way Down Yonder Beignets & Coffee will be open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and closed Sundays.

For more information, visit wdybeignets.com.

All photos by Captured by Chrissy Photography

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