By Destiny Brown
A trip to the beach isn’t complete without stopping in for a fresh beignet from Cafe Beignet. With 12 beignets for under $12, this hole in the wall has kept customers coming back since 1989. Especially the snowbirds.
Al Joseph, the current owner of Cafe Beignets has been in the food industry all his life. In the late 80s, Joseph made his first move to Gulf Shores to take on the job as beverage and food manager for the convention center at the time. He traveled to new locations with his job until 1995, when he decided to make Gulf Shores his permanent home.
Joseph’s first restaurant in Gulf Shores was Bimini Grill, which was located where The Hangout is today. He eventually sold his restaurant and focused his attention on a little beignet shop in a nearby shopping center
The beignet shop had been in business sine 1989. When it was first opened, Cafe Beignets was more of a newsstand that sold beignets in the back. However, Joseph says the founders realized there was no money to be made in newsstands, but beignets were another story.
Joseph took over Cafe Beignets in 1997. The next year, he opened the Orange Beach location and around 2015, he expanded to Perdido Key, Florida.
“We’re a part of so many peoples vacation,” Joseph said. “Go to the beach, get your beignets, get your seafood. And the kids will actually eat them!”
If the kids are picky, they’ll have no problem tasting a Boston cream pie type dessert. Beignets are a New Orleans favorite. The dessert consists of fried dough dusted with powdered sugar and stuffed with a cream pudding filling. Chocolate flavor is also an option. Beignets pair great with a hot cup of coffee, which is also one of Cafe Beignets specialties.
Cafe Beignet’s products are right up there with the famous New Orleans’ Cafe du Monde.
“The beignets are an old New Orleans favorite, but we do a few things different,” Joseph said. “We take the time to cook to order while most places cook ahead. People like to sit down and enjoy and drink their coffee. We have cinnamon rolls and some muffins. It’s a fixture here.”
Joseph is also co-owner of another local business, Mama Lottie’s Pizza, with his son, Andy. The Joseph’s hope to open another beignet shop in the future and expand further into Florida.
Cafe Beignets is open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to noon. Cafe Beignets is located at 25405 Perdido Beach Blvd. in Orange Beach and 200 W Fort Morgan Rd. in Gulf Shores.