La Crosse Showcase: J’s Café


Photo taken by Jenasea Hameister.

Jenasea Hameister, General Assignment Reporter

On Monday, Nov. 21, Jeanet “J” Hinds and Benjamin “Ben” Gruse, the owners of J’s Café, sat down to discuss their “quirky” café and why students and community members should choose J’s Café as a place to “eat, study, and hangout.”

J said that opening J’s Café was “a childhood dream” of hers and that she was in a time in her life where she needed a passion project and knew that she and Ben were a good team. Ben said, “I was working in the corporate world for most of my time in Minneapolis and I was wanting to do something for myself. I wanted to learn how to run a business and the opportunity presented itself and so we were like ‘Let’s give it a go.’”

J and Ben said that choosing La Crosse as their location was a long story, but more or less that La Crosse chose them. With J growing up in the valleys of California near mountains, La Crosse was, “an easy place to feel like home.” Ben continued to say, “Being able to hike in Hixon was a big reason why we decided to stay here.”

J’s Café is located at 444 Main Street, Suite 103, and is a part of the artist alley in downtown La Crosse. J said it is “more of a city style café with a focus being to-go food.” She continued, “People compare it to their time in Los Angeles.” She said the power bowl and acai bowl are “a healthy alternative for breakfast and lunch that are nutrient-packed but not too heavy.” Ben said that J’s Café is his and J’s second home, so they want it to feel “homey.”

Some options that are offered to those with dietary restrictions are gluten-free options, vegetarian/vegan options, and sugar-free options. J said that J’s Café plans to expand this list as they grow. She continued to say that the most popular food and drink options are London fog, chai’s, lattes, breakfast sandwiches, and the power bowl. Additionally, J’s Café purchases their coffee beans from Bean Juice in La Crosse and tries to make their to-go options sustainable.

Both J and Ben said they plan on hosting different events at J’s Café but are incorporating them slowly because they are new to the community. In the past, they have hosted a paint-and-sip event. Ben said that customers, “are not pressured to drink [at J’s Café],” and that both he and J “want to build a small menu of nonalcoholic items.”

J said that J’s Café “is made with inclusivity in mind and that is part of our moral guide, so [J’s Café is] an inclusive space.” She continued by saying, “We are really just calling out to mindful people, aware people, people who need safer spaces within the city to exist.” J’s Café is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Instagram: @jscafe_lax
Facebook: @J’s Cafe