A new taste in town


Annie Goodman / The Lion's Roar

Miss Southeastern Louisiana University Chelsey Blank enjoys an iced rose tea in the courtyard of Courtyard Cafe. The cafe opened in downtown Hammond in 2017.

A family-owned cafe in Hammond hosts a relaxed atmosphere while serving coffee and food to the community.

Located on North Cate Street, Courtyard Cafe opened in October 2017. Owners Rose and Bryan Wong got the idea of selling Hawaiian ice and crepes while on vacation.

The idea for selling coffee came later when Rose and Bryan Wong partnered with Mojo Coffee House, who trained the first baristas of Courtyard Cafe.

“With it being sort of this collaborative team effort to try to do something really special, that’s when I kind of reached out to Mojo,” explained Rose Wong. “I reached out to probably 10 to 15 different coffee companies, and Mojo was so amazing.”

Hannah Rogers, a barista since 2018, grew up in Hammond and attended Tulane University where Mojo Coffee was prominent.

Since Rogers is around coffee all day, her favorite item on the menu is a stronger beverage.

Rogers shared, “My favorite thing is the cortado, which is equal parts espresso and steamed milk with a little bit of foam on top, and if you wanted to add a flavor, our Cuban is really good with the condensed milk and the cinnamon.”

With the university down the road, Rose Wong explained that she keeps the college atmosphere embedded within the business.

“We always try to make sure that it’s super affordable for everybody and also super fun,” said Rose Wong. “Even the baristas that work here, I always tell them, ‘You’re here to have fun. Don’t take anything too seriously. If something’s going on, I’m always here to support you guys, and we’ll figure it out.’”

Customers can expect a calm and personable atmosphere, according to Rogers.

“The aesthetic is really nice in there, and there’s a really chill vibe,” discussed Rogers. “Because there’s a bar, you get to know the people there. It’s so much fun to go in there and talk to people and see each other.”

Luke LeBlanc, a former barista, now visits Courtyard Cafe as a customer. Having met close friends through the eatery, LeBlanc shared how Courtyard Cafe has two climates that work well together.

“It’s very sociable, yet it’s also just a good place to come study and hang out – study, relax, or just get away from school,” explained LeBlanc.

Since opening Courtyard Cafe, Rose Wong learned that owning a business can be filled with positive surprises.

“We kind of had an idea in mind on how things were going to go, but it just took on a life of its own,” shared Rose Wong. “There’s such a coffee culture here that is really shocking to me.”