Opinion: Serving history with a cup of joe

Published 5:56 pm Monday, March 13, 2023

It was a heartbreaking event for the Montevallo community to see Strand Coffeehouse close its doors last year. However, with the opening of Baba Java at the Strand, the sense of community and history that Strand provided is still intact.

Baba Java Coffee at the Strand is the second location opened by the company, Baba Java Coffee, with its first business located in Hoover. The business held its grand opening on Friday, March, 3 with a soft opening two weeks prior.

The building boasts a rich history of being the spot of many businesses over the years including a movie theater, an apothecary and an art studio.

By nature, coffee shops provide a distinctive atmosphere and experience in of themselves, however, placing a coffee shop in a place with so much history and directly engaging with it gives the location a unique feel.

“We knew a little bit about the history coming in, but we definitely had no idea how much history there was here,” Manager Jocelyn Johnson said. “What we’re trying to do is learn how to be the best that we can be. (Be) the best roaster and serve excellent coffee all while going into the communities and honoring what this community has which is a lot of history.”

The owners of the business worked together with the landlord to open up the space for customers while still maintaining the history of the building.

“When we tore down the walls we saw how great of a space it was, and we just touched up the paint and left it,” Johnson said.

The business still displays the Strand theatre’s old ticket window in the front and the old brick wall bearing an old Durham tobacco advertisement in the back. Baba Java at the Strand even boasts a new addition with an old projector from the historic Strand theater tucked in a corner for decoration.

Although residents may still miss their regular cup of joe at Strand Coffeehouse, it’s safe to say that Baba Java Coffee at the Strand is a perfect fit in the Montevallo Community.