Restaurant Review: Nova Espresso

Photos by Elizabeth Gelineau
Matcha Tonic

The revitalization of DeTonti Square continues with the opening of Nova Espresso, a new coffee shop with clean lines and serious brews. Real estate visionary Robert Isaakson of Lafayette Land Company purchased a 1940s garage and converted it with a coffee shop in mind.

Louisiana natives Claire and Tim Gautreaux look the part of a brew crew but claim no prior experience in the industry. He has a background leading worship music, and she worked in fashion in Dallas. They had lived in Mobile in the past, but when they visited from Dallas in 2018 for a friend’s wedding, the couple was amazed at how much downtown Mobile had changed in just a few short years.

“We started talking to friends and business owners and got a pulse for what was happening Downtown. The whole vibe felt different — it had transformed. There is a vibrancy that really wasn’t here before.” They made up their minds to move with their expanding family and start a small business.

During their time in Dallas, the couple found a community by regularly visiting a neighborhood coffee shop. They made friends and fell in love with coffee culture. Upon moving back to Mobile, they discovered the tiny garage on St. Anthony and began work on the build out that would become Nova. For the four months prior to opening, the duo ran a pop-up coffee truck to get their name out there. After brewing at farmers markets, estate sales, local restaurants and more, they were ready to hang out their shingle. “The pop-ups were a lot of hard work,” Tim says, “but it paid off. People really found us that way.”

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Inside the bright white cinder-block structure, caffeine seekers find sleek tables, plenty of sunlight and expertly crafted beverages, including espresso flights and matcha tonics. While the baristas at Nova aren’t cooking food of their own, the award-winning chefs at Southern National are sending over scones, sweets, salads and more to pair with the coffeehouse options. Nova is certainly worth a spin down the city’s new tech corridor to see what it’s all about.

On the Menu

Nova’s Latte
A shot of espresso from Tweed Coffee Roasters in Dallas is topped with hot steamed milk. The Cortado simply has less steamed milk added.

Bourbon Maple Iced Latte
Warm flavors chill over ice to create the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Nondairy milks available.

Matcha Tonic
Green tea and Big Jerk ginger beer combine to create a refreshingly bold and bubbly concoction, finished with a squeeze of lime.

Super Nova
Truly taste coffee flavor in this fun presentation. Sip on espresso and macchiato (espresso with milk) with a Topo Chico sparkling water to cleanse your palette.

Pecan Pound Cake
One of the many seasonal sweet and savory food options created by Southern National, this crumbly cake is the perfect accompaniment to a Nova drink.

Nova Espresso • 306 St. Anthony St. • 287-1379
7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday – Sunday

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