Get a taste of New Orleans at new coffee shop in downtown Biloxi

The west end of Biloxi's downtown is getting Jacked Up, as a new coffee shop joins the menagerie of small businesses and Victorian homes on that stretch of Howard Avenue.

Councilwoman Dixie Newman, who took on the restoration of Hiller Park, opens her new venture, Jacked Up Specialty Coffee Bar, on Friday, July 6.

It's at 999 West Howard Avenue, just down the street from Howard Avenue Emporium, an antique shop owned by her mother, Fredda Newman. The coffee shop is flanked by the Flower Basket to the west and Fashion Carriage to the east, with a set of antique French doors that open so customers can browse the fashions while waiting for their coffee to brew.

“I love coffee. It's one of my things,'” Newman said. While there are coffee shops in the Biloxi casinos, Newman said she wanted an independent local coffee shop and to introduce something original to the Coast — French Truck Coffee from New Orleans.

“In Biloxi we like ours Jacked Up,” say the T-shirts worn by the employees of the new coffee shop. The centerpiece of the shop is a coffee bar with neon lights that add changing color to the otherwise neutral palate of white, black and gray. On the concrete counter sits a bright blue La Marzocco machine, imported from Italy to turn out fine espresso and other specialty coffees.

“It's true barista coffee so it's stronger than most," Newman said, "and it's good."

Baristas from French Truck Coffee trained the Jacked Up staff how to make the perfect cup of coffee, whether the customer orders espresso, cappuccino, latte, white chocolate mocha, cafe au lait or other coffee.

“Delicious mocha,” Sherri Bell of Biloxi declared as she sampled her first coffee at Jacked Up. “They need something like this in downtown Biloxi,” she said.

The shop offers a choice of NOLA iced coffee and 24-hour OJI drip iced coffee, along with hot loose leaf tea and iced tea.

Customers will be able to satisfy their sweet cravings in liquid form with a chocolate chip cookie coffee milkshake or a coffee soda float or with the store's signature monkey bread. It's made in-house in sweet flavors such as praline pecan and lemon blueberry, or savory with sausage and gravy. Nibbles of pesto bread or loaded hummus dip and pita are other choices.

Tom Tandler is the mastermind behind the monkey bread and the setup of the kitchen. Sean Gillikin was the carpenter, turning what was once a pharmacy into a coffee house with high, wood-topped bars and lower triangle-shaped tables that can be arranged to fit the size of a group.

Initially the shop will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, but Newman plans to extend the offerings and the hours.

“Eventually we want to get a liquor license so you can jack up your coffee even more,” she said. She also plans martini nights on Friday and Saturday, adding to the appeal created by the Howard Avenue West End Merchants to make visiting downtown Biloxi an experience again.