Two brothers are working together to bring an artisan cafe that focuses on quality coffee and a quirky menu featuring food exclusively cooked on a waffle iron later this year to downtown Tuscaloosa.

Jack and Alex Roberts, both University of Alabama alumni, are working together to bring Tennessee-based Just Love Coffee Cafe to the University Boulevard spot that used to house O'Henry's Coffee.

In a Monday interview with the Tuscaloosa Thread, Jack Roberts said when Just Love Coffee Cafe opens sometime this fall, it will bring a fresh culinary experience to the Druid City.

"What makes Just Love Coffee Cafe unique?" Roberts asked. "We have absolutely fantastic coffee, and we do all our own roasting so it's aromatic and aesthetically pleasing. We also make everything we serve on waffle irons, from waffles to sandwiches to wraps pressed in the iron -- it's everything."

O'Henry's closed in August 2019 after long-term construction projects on Lurleen Wallace Boulevard and University Boulevard decreased their foot traffic to unsustainable levels, but Roberts said now that the work is done, he and his brother see fantastic opportunity in the area.

"We couldn’t be more excited," he said. "We did a lot of research and spent a lot of time picking the right spot, and the construction that’s been completed now looks fantastic. The money the city and state invested there has changed the whole picture."

With the Embassy Suites, Hotel Indigo and the RiverWalk all close by and the Saban Center, River District Park and several new hotels planned or under construction, Roberts said Just Love Coffee Cafe is going to be well situated to succeed where O'Henry's couldn't.

Just Love Coffee Cafe was founded in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Roberts said they have around 20 locations open or planned, primarily throughout the Southeast in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

He said he wanted to bring the business to Tuscaloosa because after he and his brother earned degrees at the University of Alabama, they learned to love the Druid City.

"Alex and I, we know this town," Roberts said. "It’s phenomenal. It’s rapidly growing, and we absolutely love the excitement in the community."

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