Music, drinks flow at Fondren’s Sneaky Beans
Sneaky Beans opened in Sept. 2008, fusing the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee shop with a music venue while encouraging community development.
Owner Byron Knight returned to Jackson after his 2006 graduation from Middle Tennessee State University and decided to open a coffee shop with live entertainment after talking with developer Mike Peters.
“It was a spur of the moment decision, really,” he said. “We just celebrated our second anniversary, which is huge. To open a shop in the middle of the depression, I’m pretty proud of being open for two years.”
Manager Leslee Foukal said music enthusiasts can expect to hear a little of every genre at the coffee shop, which is named for Knight’s childhood nickname, Sneaky B.
“We book indie and small local bands; we’ve had a hip-hop show and we have folk and bluegrass groups,” she said.
Space behind the shop can accommodate larger shows, such as the Colour Revolt event which drew 300-400, and smaller groups can play on the shop’s front deck.
Acts are booked through Knight, who also owns Sneaky B Productions; and Foukal manages the coffee shop, which now features locally-roasted coffee from High Point Coffee in Oxford.
“We’re in the arts district, and our crowd is really locally-minded,” Foukal said. “It didn’t make sense to serve coffee roasted on the West Coast.”
Muffins, bagels and Danish pastries are served for breakfast on weekday mornings, and Knights cooks omelets, cheese grits and sausage and biscuits on Saturday mornings. A light lunch is served daily, and cupcakes and cakes are made by Knight’s mother.
The coziness afforded by the shop’s location in a former house is a draw for customers, Knight and Foukal said.
“It’s real laidback,” Knight said. “There are four other rooms besides the main, front room, where you can kind of just get away from everything or you can sit up front where we have the music going.”
Providing individualized customer service is another priority at Sneaky Beans.
“We focus on customer service and make sure our baristas treat our customers as individuals – they know them if not by name then by drink,” Foukal said.