Cafe Nola bringing a taste of the easy life of New Orleans to St. Clair County

Chris and Andrea Shifflett are ready to welcome you to Cafe Nola.For Chris and Andrea Shifflett, the dream of owning a business has been in the making for more than a decade.


Now they are just days from turning their dream into a reality, as Cafe Nola, located at 5287 Lapeer Road in Kimball Township, readies for its grand opening.


Their love for coffee and of the easy life in New Orleans inspired the idea for the coffee shop.Cafe Nola will be serving coffee roasted in New Orleans.


It was 10 years ago when the Shiffletts took their first trip to New Orleans, and Andrea says, it was love at first sight.


She says New Orleans, best known for it's Mardi Gras celebrations, also offers a warm, accepting atmosphere, and they are bringing a piece of that lifestyle back home to Michigan.


"We want to bring the welcoming feel of New Orleans to Michigan," Andrea says. "When you go there, you are just accepted and we want people to see what we see when we go there."


The purpose is to bring more of New Orleans than just a Mardi Gras theme. The cafe will showcase the spirit and resiliency of the city -- taking what they have, cleaning it up and repurposing it. Within the coffee shop, the majority of the decor is second-hand, repurposed, and donated. Bringing the vision of the shop to life and repurposing furniture has been a fun, creative process for Andrea.


The cafe features photos from the Shiffletts favorite moments in New Orleans.She's lined the walls with empty, repainted picture frames, and shutters, creating strong visual appeal, while the back of the cafe features photos from their trips to New Orleans.


The spot everyone will be checking out is the selfie wall, which features a backdrop of purple, yellow, and green with a fleur de lis in the center. The bright wall, suggested by Andrea's sister, is the perfect spot to snap a photo of a Cafe Nola special.


"I had a lot of fun, working on the selfie wall," Andrea says. It reminds her of graffiti art that can be seen throughout New Orleans.


After creating the perfect atmosphere, the Shiffletts readied a menu to appeal to a wide variety of coffee lovers.


In addition to their Orleans Coffee blend, the cafe will serve a variety of The featured selfie wall is a perfect place to snap a photo of your favorite drink.teas, lattes, frappes, and non-coffee drinks. Andrea believes the Praline Latte will be a crowd favorite.


Cafe Nola will also feature bubble tea, an Asian-style drink that has been growing in popularity.


Andrea is also excited about serving up the Rose Sisters Iced Tea, a recipe she found in a book by one of her favorite authors.


There will be food offerings, as well. The kitchen, with a limited menu, will be known for its muffuletta sandwich, as well as the strangewich and beignets, a New Orleans favorite.


When it comes to the beignets, Cafe Nola's will be baked instead of deep-fried, and only served on Tuesdays. In addition to opening the doors to the community, the beignets are what Chris is looking forward to most.


As the shop grows, so will the menu, based on what customers are looking to try.

Cafe Nola will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.


Guests can order a variety of coffee drinks when Cafe Nola opens.The Shiffletts have many plans for their cafe-- from hosting networking group meetings, to special event nights, and even a Mardi Gras celebration.


They are looking forward to opening the doors, meeting new friends and embracing the community they've called home for five years.


"I'm looking forward to getting to know the community even more," Chris says.


Nothing about the venture has been easy, Andrea says, but it was time to go all-in on their dream. With help from friends like Shannon Schwabe at the Small Business Development Center, they've been able to navigate through roadblocks and concerns and make their vision a reality. They've got big goals to reach, and are already planning their first expansion.


"It's definitely been a labor of love and a long time coming."