Libby Jane Cafe
644 Polk St., Tenderloin
Phone: (415) 926-2540
Anyone who's braved a weekend brunch at Brenda's French Soul Food knows there's only one possibility in store: a long wait. Even after expanding their space a few years back, chef Brenda Buenviaje and wife/business partner Libby Truesdell have dealt with massive overflow. But the wait led to an opportunity, in the form of a former smoke shop two doors down from Brenda's HQ that's been transformed into Libby Jane Cafe (named for Truesdell), a spot where fans of the restaurant can grab coffee and pastries to go, get a quick bowl of soup for lunch, and/or cool their heels while waiting their turn at Brenda's.
The cafe, decorated in black and white with red accents, mostly offers baked goods, with options like sweet potato coffee cake, cornmeal muffins, banana bread, and a few types of cookies. Brenda's much-loved cream biscuits are offered with housemade strawberry jam, "ham jam," and other toppings; there are also some biscuit variations like lemon-poppyseed and bacon-cheddar-scallion. Chicken-andouille gumbo from next door features regularly on the menu, along with a second rotating soup.
On the beverage side, Libby Jane is offering both Community Coffee (the traditional chicory coffee that's ubiquitous in New Orleans) as well as Ritual coffee for more modern drinkers. There are a few specialty coffee drinks like a butter-pecan latte, and Brenda's watermelon iced tea and bottles of Abita root beer are available as well. Diners can grab a jar of Brenda's watermelon pickles, pickled okra, or jams, and gumbo is available to go by the quart. A small counter seats 6-8 people, but the shop is mostly intended for takeout. Hours are Monday-Friday, 7 am-3 pm, and Saturday-Sunday, 8 am-3 pm. The couple's next expansion, a po' boy shop on Fillmore called Brenda's Original Po' Boys that was announced back in July 2012, remains in the works.
· A First Look at Libby Jane, from the Brenda's Team [Tablehopper]
· Brenda's Launching Libby Jane Cafe, A Coffee Shop [~ ESF ~]
· Brenda's Original Po' Boys Location REVEALED [~ ESF ~]
[Photo: Lou S./Yelp]