There is a time in ones life when one realizes an experience or group of experiences will having a lasting effect on how one's life moves forward. For James and Lina Jacobs that group of moments occurred in the Spring of 2008. In celebration of their 15th year wedding anniversary, the Jacobs's were on a three week self-guided tour of Italy. It was in those days that Lina discovered how enhanced the flavor of foods were when made from fresh, farm-to-table seasonal ingredients. Restaurants and cafes in villages like Positano, on the Amalfi coast, sourced its ingredients from the local farms. As important as wine is to the culture of Italy, so is coffee or caffeè. Over twenty one days the couple developed a deeper appreciation for the craft of coffee-making and fresh seasonal-ingredient driven foods.
Fast forward to the Spring of 2012 when James and Lina Jacobs completed the renovation of a cottage, formerly a tattoo parlor, in the Historic Perkins Road Overpass District of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The days between the Italian vacation in Spring 2008 and the opening of Magpie in Spring of 2012 is Our Story.
An ambitious idea. In 2010, Lina, a consultant for Paul Mitchell Salon Systems, had a rewarding career. James, an account manager for Swagelok Fluid Systems, had an equally rewarding vocation. Neither had thought much about changing occupations, until...
The coffeehouse, within walking distance of their home, had just closed. The neighborhood was surprised by the abrupt closing. Within the Jacobs's neighborhood, not much was being uncovered on what would go into the newly vacated space. Lina came home from that day's work activities and approached James. She presented an ambitious idea. Lina expressed how the couple should take over the vacated coffeehouse and turn into an espresso bar featuring locally-sourced, organic bakery and lunch offerings. Modeling the proposed espresso bar-cafe after the experiences the Jacobs's had in Italy. James loved the idea; however, mentioned that the couple knew nothing about the industry. The vacated coffeehouse repopulated as a similar coffeehouse as was before, under new ownership. Although this location would not become the first Magpie, the concept was born. Within days, the Jacobs's had registered a LLC, designed a logo, and sought avenues to pursue so they may learn the coffeehouse-cafe business. One hurdle presented itself. There weren't any other espresso bar, bakery, farm-to-table lunch cafes that the couple could study. The future Magpie Cafe was creating its own category in the food industry, at least in the Louisiana region.
Inspirational travels. Louisiana is rich in its own coffee culture. Louisiana coffee culture is different than the Italian coffee culture the Jacobs's fell in love with. Recognizing the third-wave specialty coffee movement in Seattle and Portland was rooted in the Italian espresso traditions, the couple made plans to go to the Northwest to study coffee. Changing the coffee culture in Baton Rouge was not going to be easy; however the Jacobs's felt strongly that well-crafted coffee would be appreciated in their hometown of Baton Rouge.
In 2010, the Portland, Seattle, and Austin trips tor the Jacobs's proved to be equally inspirational in the culinary facets for the soon to be Magpie Cafe. In the Spring of 2011, inspired to learn more about specialty coffee and local, seasonal cafes, the couple mapped out a 12-day journey to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. James and Lina packed up their Harley Davidson touring motorcycle and set out to explore. Destination Carolla Beach, North Carolina: home to 119 wild stallions that inhabit the coastal beach. Along the way, were stops in Atlanta, Nags Head, Charleston, Savannah, Cumberland Island, and Tallahassee. By the time the couple was ready to start building their Magpie Cafe, the new concept cafe was a culmination of their inspirational travels through Italy and the States.
Live What You Love. With passion and a focus on what the couple envisioned for a new concept craft coffeebar, seasonal foods cafe in Baton Rouge, James and Lina had left their careers and began building the first Magpie. Four years later, the second Magpie opened in Downtown Baton Rouge.