Cajun French: venter (von-tā) – wind (to blow)
Lunch by the Bay is one of our favorite things to do when on the Coast. Today was no different. We went in search of the perfect café where we could sit outside looking out to the open water, feel the breeze and enjoy the salt air. Only problem, the day was chilly and very windy; no sitting outside today.
Inland we went and happened upon Cypress Café. Every once in a while you find a gem that is so much more than you see on the surface and Cypress is one of those finds – food, history, gifts and legend.
The café is housed in the 1905 City Hall which includes two jail cells and a holding cell. The menu offered soup, salads and sandwiches and all sounded appealing. Being pescatarians we decided on the Tomato Basil Soup and Panini by the Bay (Veggie Style). The Panini consisted of Monterey jack cheese, spring mix, avocado, purple onion, tomatoes, pesto and mayo on wheat berry bread. The sandwich came with a side of potato salad perfect for John, lots of mayo and chunks of potatoes. The meal was delicious filling and said come again.
Cypress Café serves more than fresh food. Gift items including Duck Commander Gear and other unique items local to the area are available in the gift section. One of the most important aspects of the Cypress Café is a serving of history. As the owner/proprietor of Cypress Café stated, “Our café is not just a café, we are continuing history…”. The history began in the late 1800s when the city of Bay St Louis was occupying a room in the Hancock County Courthouse. The county decided they needed more space and asked the City to move and the City refused and the County evicted the City. The County filed suit and the suit went to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1902 and was upheld. The City has no choice but to move.
From 1902 to 1904 the City met in the private Commercial Club on Front Street, now Beach Boulevard. The City purchased land from the Sisters of St Joseph Academy and the first Bay St. Louis City Hall was built.
While talking with Holly Lemoine-Raymond, owner/proprietor, she relayed a story about someone who was killed in 1928 while in the holding cell. If only walls could talk…
First and foremost, the food is what drew us to the Cypress Café. Exploring the jail cells, hearing the history, perusing the gifts, and enjoying the historic architecture were just additional benefits. The great people at the Cypress Café will welcome you and we think you’ll want to return.