If you search around enough you'll find that Baton Rouge contains a lot of hidden gems that are locally owned and full of charm. One of these places is a little cafe downtown called Strand's. Strand's Cafe is a European-style coffee shop complete with fine pastries and gourmet chocolates. Like any good modern coffee shop, Strand's offers free wireless internet access, and a great assortment of coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, teas, and espressos. They also offer coffee by the pot if you plan on staying a while!
Strand's Cafe, Laurel Street, Downtown Baton Rouge
Walking into Strand's is like walking into a different country. The decor and atmosphere that they have created in their small coffee shop reminds me of Belgium more than Baton Rouge. The family owned and run cafe bakes all of their pastries in house and also creates their fine chocolates on location. Just one look at all of the various treats and treasures in the counter display will make your mouth salivate for a taste. The chocolates are a work of edible art as they are beautifully crafted and sculpted into iconic shapes including the Louisiana favorite Fleur de Lis.
The Display of Fine Chocolates at Strand's Cafe
The other morning I went into Strand's to pick up some coffee for a coworker (because I'm a nice guy and it was a beautiful day and I wanted to go take a walk outside) and I couldn't resist getting a cup of cafe au lait and a croissant for myself.
Provolone and Prosciutto Croissant and a Large Cafe Au Lait
Strand's offers several different fresh, flaky, delicious croissant varieties. In addition to the provolone and prosciutto that I ordered, they also offer a chocolate and a four cheese croissant. The provolone and prosciutto croissant was absolutely delicious. The crusty dough was light and buttery and the inside had just the right amount of meat and cheese to add to the taste without overpowering the actual croissant. The cafe au lait perked me up on a slow morning in the office, and so did the walk around the block. I'm glad I paid a visit to Strand's and I'm sure I'll be back many more times. If you need some study time or some internet cafe time and can make it downtown, I highly recommend it!