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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Sweet Haus: Bringing new pastries to the cafe scene of La Crosse

Hephzibah Ohihoin
Sweet Haus mochi donuts.

On Dec. 1, 2023, 27-year-old Xavier Yang, his wife Yer Thao and sister-in-law Leena Thao opened the cafe, Sweet Haus. The picturesque cafe seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, only having a website and a Facebook.  “We wanted to kind of surprise the community and just be like ‘Hey we’re here!’,” said Yang. 

Sweet Haus mostly brings in college students. This was not the case when they initially opened. “When we opened, the students went on break for winter vacation which was good because we noticed that a lot of the neighborhood folks here had a chance to come in,” said Yang

Yang has an extensive history with the food industry. He said, “I’ve always been in the food industry. I worked [sic] a bunch of fast food restaurants and I worked at a bunch of different diners.” He continued, “I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, it was more so just being able to work, you know. The work I do, the energy I put in is for myself and my family.”

Yang and his fellow co-owners set out to open Sweet Haus with the goal of bringing diversity to the popular cafe scene of La Crosse. 

“The Japanese mochi donuts and the Korean corndogs, we don’t have anything like that here,” said Yang. “I mean if you look at a lot of the cafes and coffee shops around here it’s all very, very similar. You have obviously the coffees and stuff but the pastries that they have are very similar so we just wanted to bring something just a little different but still very good too.”

Sweet Haus offers a variety of mochi donuts, Korean corndogs and drinks; with a price range of six to eight dollars. They also have a Valentine’s Day special called ‘Love Struck’, which consists of eight to a dozen donuts and can be pre-ordered for $50 on their website.

“It’s very exciting, it’s a bouquet of mochi donuts and you can choose the different flavors you want with the donuts,” Yang said. He added that customers could also write a cute note or message that would come with the donut bouquet. 

Yang believes that the atmosphere of Sweet Haus is what sets the cafe apart from the rest. 

“We wanted to make it different, just set apart from the other cafes. Like having a nice backdrop for photos, that’s one thing you don’t see at American cafes or coffee shops.” He continued, “We traveled to a lot of cities quite a bit. A lot of their boba shops and their cafe shops have these backdrops where you can take photos and be able to post them up and share on social media with friends and family.”

“I think just educating individuals on this kind of food, it’s something very different that most people have never heard of or never had before, so just seeing the excitement and how much they enjoy it, it’s really rewarding and it makes it all worth it,” said Yang. 

Yang has big plans for Sweet Haus in the future including branching to Onalaska. He said, “[We are] definitely looking to mass distribute our mochi donuts, we want to work with People’s Food Co-op or Festivals Food even.”

Yang and Thao also own Eau Juicy-La Crosse, a seafood restaurant that offers Cajun Seafood boil. “Eau-Juicy downtown is definitely big enough to house what we do here but we wanted just a separate entity, we wanted to have Sweet Haus have its own face rather than just jam it all together into one shop,” said Yang.

Yang said that running both Sweet Haus and Eau-Juicy came with tough challenges. 

“But I have my wife and my in-laws so it really helps me divide and conquer,” said Yang. “Just communicating with one another and just kind of helping out each other, communication is big when it comes to anything you do.” 

Yang also spoke about other challenges that came with opening Sweet Haus. 

He said, “One of the biggest things was not marketing right away, we kind of just opened and we didn’t launch like a marketing campaign whereas downtown (Eau Juicy-La Crosse) we did,  Mayor Reynolds was there and a bunch of different organizations were there with us too.” 

Despite Sweet Haus being up and running, Yang stated that he still plans to do a ribbon cutting eventually. 

A normal fear for new restaurants and cafes is not having customers said Yang. “It’s very scary because there could be days where you get ten people that come in or days that you get seventy, eighty people.” Yang continued, “Just remembering the reason why we opened, we couldn’t get scared. it’s not gonna always be busy and there’s not always gonna be customers and that’s like in any other business too.”

Yang concluded by saying that his mission was to create an atmosphere that was welcoming to anybody. “Doesn’t matter your skin color, your religion, your race. None of that matters to us, we welcome anybody and everybody, we just want to have a safe place for everyone to come in and enjoy our pastries and what we have to offer,” said Yang.

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About the Contributor
Hephzibah Ohihoin
Hephzibah Ohihoin, General Assignment Reporter
Year at UWL:  First PGPs: She/Her Hometown: Sabongida-Ora, Edo State, Nigeria. Major: English Minor: Legal Studies and Creative Writing Other Campus Involvement: Xi Alpha Ministry, Cru, ALANA, Pre-Law Organization and BSU Future Plans after Graduation: Law School Favorite activity in La Crosse: Playing badminton and pickleball
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    AIGBE OHIHOINFeb 12, 2024 at 11:38 am

    Great article!