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A Taste of New Orleans in Bonners Ferry

It’s time to savor the flavors of Grama J’s home cookin’!

By Jillian Chandler

If you want to experience some trademark tastes of New Orleans, stop by Grama J's Beignets, where you'll be greeted with the warmest smile and the smells worthy of Café Du Monde right here in Bonners Ferry!

Owner Judie Sowards had been a long-time visitor to Bonners Ferry before deciding to make this wonderful place home in 2019. It was on a random trip through Bonners Ferry after a visit up to Nelson, BC, when she noticed the main space in the Bonner Port Building was available for rent. A longtime love for all things Southern got her thinking about starting a food business and, soon after, she decided to open Grama J’s Beignets—which she didn’t share with her children until her plan was well in motion!

Grama J’s Beignets opened in January 2020 and, like many other businesses, Judie was forced to close her doors in March due to the national health crisis. But once the stay-at-home order was lifted, Judie was more than ready to get back into the kitchen doing what she loves and reopened her doors in mid-July. Since then, her shop has been filled on a regular basis with eager patrons, ready to be treated to Southern flavors you won’t find anywhere else in the area!

When Judie first moved to Bonners Ferry, she wanted to meet new people, and Grama J’s was just the way to do that! “It is so rewarding to me to be able to share my creations with my guests, meet new friends and give them a place to gather,” affirms Judie. “The locals have been absolutely awesome and supportive. Everyone here are so friendly and giving.”

Judie, a woman with a huge heart and known to many in the community as Grama J, serves up her freshly made beignets, either plain or in classic breakfast styles; delicious crepes served up sweet with berries or savory with home-cooked brisket and other delightful options; steamed buns with a variety of fillings; baked goods and ice cream at her Grama J’s Beignets coffee shop and café in the heart of Bonners Ferry’s downtown.

If you’ve ever wanted to try authentic Chicory coffee, Judie serves it up fresh all day, as well as her hand-drawn espressos that rival all others; the perfect additions to complement any meal you choose to order.

Enjoy your meal or coffee in the sweet, inviting, intimate space, where you can choose to linger over your meal while reading on a comfy couch or playing board games with family and friends at a cozy table in her dining room near the fireplace. She offers free wireless internet and would gladly host a special event or gathering in her space.

“If people just want a friendly and comfortable atmosphere to meet and gather with friends, then Grama J's café is the place,” smiles Judie. “I love meeting new and old friends.”

As one satisfied diner says, "Grama J's service is exceptional. Her beignets are light and authentic. The menu is perfectly simple. We tried the Traditional and ordered a second round upon our 3-year-old boy's request. The breakfast beignets come loaded with egg, a selected breakfast meat and cheese. This was an overall great experience. If you are a local, become a regular. If you are passing through, stop in!"

During the market season, visitors to the Bonners Ferry Farmers' Market were treated to a wonderful selection of Grama J's goodies, including their namesake beignets and cinnamon rolls.

Grama J is ready to deliver a taste of New Orleans to your plate and invites you to take your food to go or grab a seat at her café for breakfast or lunch—or both! Open Thursday through Sunday from 7am to 3pm, the enticing aromas from Grama J’s kitchen abound. It’s a great way to treat your senses to a foodie’s vacation without ever having to leave town!

Grama J’s Beignets

6371 Kootenai Street

Bonners Ferry, Idaho 83805


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