To me, “MoBay” refers to Montego Bay in Jamaica, which I visited in the 1990s, so when I heard that a place was opening called MoBay Beignet Company in Memphis, I was somewhat confused, to say the least. Beignets, the delicious little square, hollow doughnuts rolled in powdered sugar are something I associate with New Orleans rather than Montego Bay. As it turns out, in this case the “MoBay” is Mobile Bay in Alabama rather than the city in Jamaica, as the original MoBay Beignet Company is in the bayfront city of Mobile. Memphis has seen a lot of beignet places come and go over the years. Some fondly remember Crescent City Beignet, and there was another beignet place in the Hampton Inn and Suites downtown near Beale Street for awhile. Two other places still exist locally, Voodoo Cafe in Bartlett and the cutely-named Ben Yay’s downtown. Still, the market is not saturated, and so I eagerly headed down to Cooper Street in Midtown to figure out what’s what.
Memphians who lamented the closure of Muddy’s Grindhouse will be thrilled to discover that MoBay has taken over that lovely house on the hill. It does not have the extensive menu of baked goods that Muddy’s had, but it does have coffee and freshly-made beignets, and the same bright, convivial atmosphere, with plenty of seating. A large image of blues icon Memphis Minnie looms over the largest indoor room. Coffees include the standard cafe au lait and iced varieties as well. And, as for the beignets, they are quite authentic, not noticeably different from what one would get in the French Quarter. Prices are reasonable, and service fairly quick. Altogether, MoBay is a welcome addition to the Memphis market and one I hope will be with us for years to come.
MoBay Beignet Company
585 S Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104