319 Broad Street, Lake Charles
Every year, my health insurance provider requires me and my wife to visit the phlebotomist. In order to provide a good reading, he requires a fasting period of at least 10 to 12 hours overnight before the draw. We have to skip our morning coffee and breakfast so as to not impact the numbers.
For me, a typical morning consists of coffee and a simple bagel with cream cheese. During the weekend, I might have something substantial to power me through the day; something with eggs, bacon and seasoned pan fried potatoes. Either way, on the day we get our blood drawn, we don’t get to enjoy any of this until we’ve submitted our samples.
Recently, as we sat in the lobby waiting for our names to be called, I thought over a few morning food options, hoping to quiet the disagreeable rumbles from my stomach due to my fasting. During our wait, my wife leaned toward me and whispered, “I just want to get a coffee.” “Perfect,” I replied. “Pick something, anything. Just tell me where to go when we get out of here.”
Admittedly, I’m not a day-long coffee drinker. I have one cup in the morning for my daily motivation and then go about my day. So, when she suggested coffee, I said, “We can go wherever you would like.”
A few moments later, the two of us were walking out with matching Band-Aids. My wife instructed me to head toward downtown Lake Charles. Stellar Beans was our destination.
It was a beautiful sunny morning as we strolled along the quiet downtown sidewalks, rounding the corner to Broad Street to view the storm tattered signage, an all too familiar reminder of the devastation we all endured. The aroma of fresh ground coffee increased with each step. A tug on the front door revealed a space-age, eclectic and downright awesome homage to Star Wars, and its characters throughout the building. To one side, several tables and chairs lined the wall, with various sofas, loveseats and artisan-crafted tables throughout the center. Perched comfortably on a bench was local musician Guitar Man Mitch, strumming his guitar to set the mood.
I stood to the side as regulars stepped up to the counter to order. As we glanced over the hanging menu board, I noticed a touchscreen kiosk beside me. For anyone new to Stellar Beans, as I was, this is genius. I can peruse the menu, order my items and insert my card without feeling rushed and without having to delay anybody else. The menu included beignets and breakfast sandwiches with bread options from croissants, brioche, gluten-free and other. These were fully customizable top to bottom, with an abundance of fresh ingredients and toppings.
After an unexpected bump into a familiar face, the darling of downtown, Paige Vidrine, of Buffi’s Peauxboys, joined us in the cozy setting for casual catching up. It was a pleasant surprise that made our visit a little brighter.
I got my order and sat sipping a smooth and creamy iced white chocolate latte which could easily convert me into a several-cups-a-day coffee drinker. My wife, a traditionalist, ordered an organic fresh roasted hot coffee.
After fasting, I could not allow breakfast just to sit in the bag as conversation continued. Reaching in, I pulled out two glorious breakfast sandwiches. I had ordered an Orion’s B.E.L.T., with crisp bacon, fluffy egg, lettuce and cheese on brioche. My wife ordered a custom variation, with spinach, egg, bacon and smoked gouda on a flaky croissant. These were fantastic remedies to our hunger situation. Every bite was fresh and flavorful. I nodded my head now and then, pretending I was focused on the girls’ exchange.
Impressed and eager for more, in a subsequent visit, we ordered a southwest chicken salad sandwich with bacon and Brie on gluten-free white bread; fresh avocado toast with wheat bread, spinach and red pepper flakes; and a pair of Interstellar Cristos, with bacon, smoked ham and Gouda cheese. They were finished with tomato jam and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Downtown has a cool breakfast spot.
The ambience and character make it much more than a coffee shop. Stellar Beans represents a unification of community and culture in a local art gallery with crafted coffee and great food in an inviting environment. The framed works available for purchase are hung throughout. The shelves showcase area services, pictures of rescues and descriptions of enrichment programs in Southwest Louisiana.