By Kyle Roberts
Ruston will soon be able to enjoy a new coffee shop with a New Orleans twist in the now-closed Railway Coffee Shop’s Nest location on the corner of Trenton and Kentucky.
Longtime Lincoln Parish resident Kate Halaszyn (who had a stint in South Louisiana) and her husband Paul are planning to open Lula Perl Coffee & Cafe within the first couple of weeks in July and will plan to serve a foray of breakfast and lunch options from coffee all the way to boudin.
The couple had hoped to start a restaurant sooner but could never find a location they were ultimately pleased with.
“We looked at locations all over the city and everywhere,” Kate said. “It was just like, man, not quite. It didn’t hit. And then I frequented railway because I was a Hillcrest. And then I would go to my job and come back and forth. And when they closed, we both thought the spot was ideal.”
Her husband echoed her sentiments about the prime location spot.
“We saw this location, and we had been talking about starting a business for a while,” Paul said. “Maybe a restaurant, because that’s in both of our backgrounds.
“The name Lula Perl comes from spitballing names back and forth for months on end. (Kate’s) middle name is Louise, and her brothers and people called her Lula as a kid growing up. And the New Orleans accent being wait it is, a lot of my friends called me “Perl.” It just worked out.”
The Halaszyn family was originally hoping for a full service restaurant, but the cost of installing a vent hood put a hold on those plans. Seeing the previous success of Railway Coffee, the Halaszyn’s decided to focus on offering coffee with breakfast and lunch options.
“I don’t think either of us wanted to come in and reinvent the wheel,” Paul said. “I feel like we can come in here and put our spin on things.”
Their hope is to use ingredients and components that are sourced locally within the region.
“Philosophically, there was a time when we moved up here that we were both farming,” Paul said. “I used to work offshore, but we would do work with the farmer’s market in town. So we want to go back and get in contact with people we worked with and some of the new farmers.
“We have to get to the point where we can give people what they want consistently, while trying to utilize stuff locally.”
The Halaszyn are excited to open their first restaurant in Ruston and expressed how much they appreciate the Ruston community.
“I love it here,” Paul said about Ruston and Lincoln Parish, citing commutes and traffic issues in other locations. “It’s been nice to move here (from New Orleans); it’s been a big social change for us.”