I'll do my best to highlight some of the new establishments and improvements here on the blog in the next week.
Please send any reviews or tips regarding places that weren't here before summer rolled around.
The first new character in the neighborhood is Village Coffee, an establishment right at the gateway to the Freret commercial corridor:
Stepping inside, I found the place surprisingly dark for a coffeeshop that seems, by its hours of 6am-9pm, to be focused on more of a morning clientele. The black ceiling, dark gold walls, and heavy wood seemed a tad subdued compared to the inviting red umbrellas outside on the ground level patio overlooking the corner of Jefferson and Freret streets. Local artwork decks the walls, and a number of students were studying already - I predict the hours will extend toward midnight as the owners recognize that student patrons from the neighborhood will desire a study spot after 9 p.m.
The service was briskly professional, almost excessively so, and there seemed to be a trifle too much adherence to some sort of written procedure for how to get food to customers when a simpler "Here is your muffin." would do. Still, it was responsive and nice. The place seemed clean. And, in addition to regular coffeeshop drink and food fare, there's an ice cream counter off in one corner - which might be handy down the road (although again, having a late night ice cream option within walking distance would probably be ideal).
It appears the upper balcony and upper level of the building is reserved for a different tenant. But overall, the landscaping changes - a profusion of greenery along the back parking lot the fronts on Freret - really has the corner looking much better than before.
Overall, it's a welcome addition to the neighborhood, although I will be watching to see how the rather template-driven coffee shop adapts to the micro-environmental forces of the neighborhood.