This Warner Robins drive-up specialty coffee shop offers freshly made, hot beignets

·3 min read

Morgan Barrientos, director of operations at Caffe Vignette in Warner Robins, admits she’s a bit of a perfectionist.

On a recent visit to the small drive-up coffee and beignet shop, Barrientos made from scratch New Orleans style beignets — starting with mixing the dough with just the right amount of water, rolling the dough out and cutting it into rectangular pieces.

She next deep fried the dough pieces, making sure the dough turned the right shade of brown and throwing out any pieces that didn’t pass her high standards for shape and color.

The pastries were then placed in a paper bag with a liberal dousing of powdered sugar.

That’s how each order of beignets, generally three to an order, are made fresh once a customer places their order.

Barrientos is just as precise with the coffee from Dillanos Coffee Roasters based in Sumner, Washington.

“We make sure every cup of coffee is the same as the last one you had,” Barrientos said. “Consistency is key.”

Everything is measured carefully and temperatures carefully controlled.

Morgan Barrientos, director of operations at Caffe Vignette in Warner Robins, turns an order of beignets in a fryer.
Morgan Barrientos, director of operations at Caffe Vignette in Warner Robins, turns an order of beignets in a fryer.

What to expect

Located at 107 Assembly Lane next to a Hardee’s off Sandy Run Road and Ga. 247, Caffe Vignette serves up coffee, espresso and lattes with their freshly-made beignets. Also served are Lotus energy drinks.

The coffee shop also offers doggy treats, including puppy cups of whipped cream, for canine companies of drive-up customers.

The small 15-foot-wide by 32-foot-long bricked shop has French Quarter design, with a large outdoor fountain on site.

The coffee shop is owned by her father, Bill Thomas of Missoula, Montana. Thomas, a 101st Airborne Division Desert Storm veteran, also served with the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 508 Infantry during the U.S. Invasion of Panama.

Barrientos also is a veteran, having served as an ammunitions crew chief in the Air Force for four years and eight months from 2016 to 2020. She was stationed at Barksdale AFB in northwest Louisiana and then at Moody AFB in south Georgia.

She operates the shop with the help of her husband, Saul Barrientos, who left his sales job with BMW to join her in the business, and of her manager, Brianna Hubbard.

“I couldn’t do it without them,” Morgan Barrientos said.

She met her husband while they both were serving in the Air Force. They have one child, Etziel, a 10-month-old boy.

A Salted Caramel Latte with a freshly made, hot beignet at Caffe Vignette in Warner Robins.
A Salted Caramel Latte with a freshly made, hot beignet at Caffe Vignette in Warner Robins.

Welcomed with open arms

Barrientos also depends on a team of well-trained employees, which she’s doubled the number of since opening in late September. She’s also streamlined the drive-thru process.

When first opening, she wasn’t able to offer the beignets as planned. The beignets were added this month after working through supply chain and other issues.

Once the coffee shop is more than breaking even, having also paid for the cost of construction, Barrientos said she expects to donate a portion of the proceeds monthly to an animal rescue group.

“We want to give back as much as we can to the community,” Barrientos said. “We love this community. They’ve welcomed us with open arms.”

Caffe Vignette is open from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

From left, Caffe Vignette manager Brianna Hubbard, director of operations Morgan Barrientos and her husband Saul Barrientos outside the location at 107 Assembly Lane in Warner Robins.
From left, Caffe Vignette manager Brianna Hubbard, director of operations Morgan Barrientos and her husband Saul Barrientos outside the location at 107 Assembly Lane in Warner Robins.
Caffe Vignette located at 107 Assembly Lane in Warner Robins.
Caffe Vignette located at 107 Assembly Lane in Warner Robins.
Morgan Barrientos, director of operations at Caffe Vignette in Warner Robins, makes a Cocomel Macchiato.
Morgan Barrientos, director of operations at Caffe Vignette in Warner Robins, makes a Cocomel Macchiato.
Baristas make drinks at Caffe Vignette located at 107 Assembly Lane in Warner Robins.
Baristas make drinks at Caffe Vignette located at 107 Assembly Lane in Warner Robins.
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