Nestled on the lower level of The Bella Hotel in the heart of Biloxi’s downtown, you will find a charming Parisian-inspired café and coffee shop that quickly has become a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.
Brew Paddle Café opened last fall and has been winning hearts with its delectable breakfast and lunch offerings, artisan bread and extensive coffee bar. Behind this French culinary haven are a husband-and-wife team, Scott and Rachel Plauche, who started this venture to create balance and harmony between the hospitality industry and their family.
Scott’s hometown is Long Beach, while Rachel hails from Brookhaven, Mississippi. They met on the Coast and then embarked on a journey that took them to various Southeastern destinations over nine years. Scott honed his culinary talents at the Art Institute of Charleston, and after stops in Florida and Baton Rouge, where he gained valuable experience in fine-dining establishments, they eventually settled in Nashville. Scott worked in a French brasserie, and the couple also welcomed their first child there.
Working long hours at the restaurant, they both began daydreaming about a concept that could strike a perfect balance between their love for the culinary arts and their desire for a family-friendly work-life balance — a place where they could be open during the day but closed for evenings and Sundays to have more family time.
When COVID-19 prompted their return to the Coast due to Rachel’s parents falling ill, the family couldn’t exchange gifts in person. They were surprised to find that Rachel’s father had purchased them a 2-foot-long steel beer paddle, despite neither Scott nor Rachel being avid beer enthusiasts. Tragically, Rachel’s father passed away in January, but the beer paddle became an unexpected source of inspiration when her mother said he felt Scott could use it for something.
Shortly thereafter, Scott told Rachel one day, “I’ve got a name: Brew Paddle Cafe.” From that point, their dream of opening their own place gained newfound momentum, becoming a way to honor her father’s memory.
The name “Brew Paddle” may seem unconventional for a café, but it holds a profound connection to their journey. As Rachel explains, “French brasseries were originally beer-brewing houses, which later evolved into restaurants. So, it was really cool to put that together as we looked at the history of French cafes. We kind of feel like it was given to Scott to push us toward this.”
Brew Paddle Café also pays homage to Rachel’s father through its logo, featuring the B and P from his signature, as well as a coffee drink on the menu called “Pop’s Brew,” named in his memory.
“Our focus is to provide a fresh, ingredient-forward menu” Rachel says. “Our selections are seasonally driven and sourced as local and farm fresh as possible. Our chefs have a high attention to detail and technique when planning and executing the menu. Ultimately, we want to provide the guests with food they may not find on the Coast while also keeping it approachable.”
On the breakfast menu, you can get items such as a breakfast plate, biscuit sandwich omelet, pancakes, pastries and bread. The lunch menu consists of three sections: tartines, starters and mains.
I kicked off my dining experience with the beets and honey from the starters section. This dish showcased a trio of salt-roasted beets, grapefruit supremes, shaped radishes and goat cheese and pistachio croquettes sitting atop a fermented honey-pistachio spread sprinkled with toasted pistachios. It not only looked exquisite but also delighted my taste buds.
For the next course, I indulged in the croque madame, a delicious creation featuring house-made brioche. It featured layers of succulent Black Forest ham, generously coated in a rich gruyere cheese mornay sauce and topped with a perfectly cooked sunny-side-up egg.
I also had the pleasure of trying the house-made corned beef hash. Brew Paddle prepares its brisket with a 10-to-12-day brining process, then roasts and expertly cuts the meat before combining it with crispy potatoes, caramelized onions, creamy bearnaise sauce, sweet peppers and yet another perfectly cooked sunny-side-up egg. The result was a thoroughly satisfying addition to my meal, both hearty and bursting with flavor.
Ending on a sweet note, I was treated to a blueberry and lavender pop tart. Except for the sprinkles, every component is made from scratch, including the pastry, icing and jam. It was a whimsical way to end a delightful meal.
Brew Paddle Café is open Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch.
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