They are sugary, they are warm, they are tasty and they are in Auburn! There was nothing like this ever before in town, but now you can get a fresh, warm beignet right here in Auburn, courtesy of Moâ€™Bay Beignet Co.
In 2016, an idea popped into Jaclyn Robinsonâ€™s mind. Robinson, who lives in Mobile, felt so inspired by this idea that she had to pursue it.
â€œCome 2019, I had this moment and felt like the Lord was leading me to start Moâ€™Bay Beignet Company, and to do it as a fundraiser to help my daughter go to college,â€ Robinson said.
Thus, she started packaging up her homemade beignets and syrups and selling them under the name Moâ€™Bay Beignet Co. Within 24 hours of her decision to sell her tasty treats, a local market contacted her and said they wanted her products on their shelves. Her beignets were so successful that Robinson started looking for her own storefront in Mobile.
In February 2020, the first-ever Moâ€™Bay Beignet Co. opened in downtown Mobile. A year later, a second location was born in the heart of Auburn, Alabama â€” just down the block from Toomerâ€™s Corner.
â€œEver since I opened Moâ€™Bay, I just kind of knew in my gut that there would be more locations, and Auburn was definitely on my list,â€ Robinson said. â€œIt just made sense; I felt like Moâ€™Bay Beignet Company would just fit perfectly right there in the heart of Toomerâ€™s Corner. It was definitely on my list, but I never thought it would be my first location [outside of Mobile].â€
Robinson, a Huntsville native, always thought Rocket City would be her second location, but things changed when Tripp Skipper entered the Mobile cafÃ© one day in May 2020.
â€œI went down there, to downtown Mobile, to just say hello to my niece one day and I was so blown away by the product that I struck up a conversation with Jaclyn,â€ Skipper said.
Skipper, a Mobile native who now lives on The Plains, asked Robinson what it would take to open a Moâ€™Bay in Auburn. Robinson said she would think about it and after a month decided to sit down and discuss it.
â€œLong story short, I agreed to take that next step and he partnered with me to get one opened up in Auburn,â€ Robinson said. â€œItâ€™s been really great. Iâ€™ve loved having it there and I really think the community is enjoying having it there as well.â€
The Auburn location of Moâ€™Bay Beignet Co. opened March 5. Moâ€™Bay recently won Best Emerging Small Business from the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.
â€œOne of the joys that I receive is just the chance to interact with the customers,â€ Skipper said. â€œKnowing that weâ€™re
helping to kind of be a bright spot in their day by serving our beignets.â€
As the owner, Skipper oversees the general operations of runninga business, ranging from handling finances to overseeing his 25 employees.
While Skipper has a huge involvement in the store, Lauren Orzo, the general manager, runs the Auburn hot spot daily. Orzo started at the Mobile location as a way to jump into the food and service industry. She started as a normal employee, then worked her way up the chain, becoming kitchen manager, then general manager.
â€œI was looking for something part-time, just kind of like a creative outlet,â€ Orzo said. â€œAnd then I got there and just fell into it; I just loved Moâ€™Bay and everything it stood for and Jaclynâ€™s vision of what she wanted the cafÃ© to be and what she wanted to bring to downtown Mobile.â€
When Auburn’s location became a tangible project, Robinson and Skipper needed someone to run the store, and Orzo was the perfect fit. Orzo graduated from Auburn and, to her, Auburn is a second home.
â€œIâ€™m just really happy to be back,â€ she said.
Orzo has been the general manager since the store opened in March and said the biggest challenge has been staffing. Due to Auburn being a college town, she has had trouble finding permanent employees but hopes things improve when students return in August. Orzo said the cafÃ© will be hiring in the fall and if anyone is interested, they can just stop by and meet her.
On the opposite side of things, Orzoâ€™s favorite part has been bringing this concept to Auburn. Skipper said he agrees.
â€œThe way I look at it is, Iâ€™m a Mobile guy bringing Moâ€™Bay Beignet to Auburn,â€ he said.
Orzo is a huge part of running the Auburn location. She runs the kitchen, does scheduling, interviewing, community relations, finds local partnerships and hires employees.
All in all, people come to Moâ€™Bay Beignet Co. for the product. The beignet recipe is Jaclynâ€™s concotion and the company limits who has that information. Orzo will combine the secret list of ingredients and then her employees will make the actual dough.
Moâ€™Bay serves the warm, sugary pastries with three different syrup options. Customers can get buttercream or cinnamon, which are available all the time, or they can try the seasonal syrup that changes every month. Previous seasonal syrups have been strawberry, key lime, lemon and raspberry.
The cafÃ© also offers coffee, and it is known for its cafÃ© au lait â€” coffee with milk. It also offers cold brew options. All coffee is roasted by Carpe Diem Coffee & Tea Co. in Mobile, which roasts the Moâ€™Bay Beignet Co. blends specifically for the cafÃ©.
As the cafÃ© enters its first fall, Skipper and Orzo said they are excited for the crowd that comes with August and beyond.
â€œSince we are on the eve of approaching our first football season, Iâ€™m really excited about that,â€ Skipper said. â€œSince the university has announced that Jordan- Hare will be 100% capacity and tailgating will be at 100%, to be a part of the Auburn game day experience, I think itâ€™s going to be really exciting.â€
After not even a year at the Auburn location, Robinson said the company is working to make another city sweeter very soon, and announced in July that the next location will be Tuscaloosa.
To get a warm beignet, tasty coffee and sweet syrup, stop by Moâ€™Bay Beignet Co., which is located at 155 N. College St. Moâ€™Bay is opened from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information about the cafÃ© or for seasonal syrup updates, follow its Instagram @mobaybeignetcoauburn.
â€œThanks for supporting us, thanks for coming out to try something new,â€ Orzo said. â€œItâ€™s a word most people canâ€™t pronounce. I guess there is some bravery there when you donâ€™t even know how to say the thing youâ€™re ordering, so yeah, thanks for the support and keep coming back.â€