The Rapidian

Café Louis brings new life to local dry cleaner

Sheldon Dry Cleaners is renovating their Breton Road location, adding a French-inspired cafe to create a unique experience for customers.
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Café Louis hours

Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Sunday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Sheldon Dry Cleaners is working to breathe new life into their dry cleaning business: they have just opened a café inside their new laundry room.

In addition to expanding their Grand Rapids headquarters to include a laundromat, the dry cleaning service is introducing Café Louis, a French-inspired café, inside its remodeled main location at 3000 Breton Road. 

Café Louis began as an idea to do something different that would keep existing customers interested in coming back and draw a new, younger crowd into the business, whether it be for laundry or for coffee.

“[The owners] decided that they wanted to do something fun and unique,” says Sue Chaitin, restaurant consultant for the project. “People can now come in, sit and relax while they do their laundry, have a crepe and a nice cup of coffee.”

The café will offer coffee from Holland-based roaster Simpatico Coffee, hot tea and cold beverages. There is a hand-chosen menu of sweet and savory crepes, soups and sandwiches along with other French-inspired pastries. 

Chaitin says that the café was looking to provide something quick and easy for the customers. She also wanted to give them something that was a more healthy snack but also a little gourmet, so crepes were the perfect option for her. Chaitin tested out crepe recipes for months before finding just the right ones for Cafe Louis.

The café is able to provide guests with a filling breakfast or lunch without taking up very much space with ovens or a full kitchen, which was important due to space restraints in the building. 

The expansion also includes a sitting area with booths, tables, televisions and a fireplace to make the guests feel like they are in a bona fide coffee shop. In the warmer months, there will be outdoor seating on a new patio.

In addition to the café and seating, the dry cleaner’s expansion includes a new laundry room. Previously, customers could only drop off dry cleaning at the location. Now, in addition to the dry cleaning, the location serves as a fully functioning laundromat, complete with brand new washers and dryers, including ones specifically for pets products and large loads. There are hand made clothes folding tables, a play area for children and free wifi so customers can pass the time as they drink coffee and do their laundry. 

“It’s gorgeous, but not so ostentatious that college students or renters would feel uncomfortable,” says Chaitin. “It’s a place where you’ll want to hang out after your laundry is done.”

Of the 29 locations of Sheldon Dry Cleaners throughout West Michigan, this is the first “testing phase” for the café, Chaitin says.  If the cafe is a success, Chaitin says, there might be a possibility to bring the cafe to other Sheldon Cleaners locations.

The cafe opened their doors to the public with a limited menu for a soft opening on Monday, Jan. 19, but will be welcoming all customers with a full menu at the grand opening on Jan. 29.

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