Loulou’s just desserts: Dream Cafe changes hands


Gunter Kleist

Lindzi Lacross

Since purchasing the Dream Cafe on Jan. 17, new owners Lindzi Lacross and Brendon Mullikin have been hard at work tailoring Johnson’s 25-year-old business on Main Street to meet their own vision. The cafe name will no longer be the Dream Cafe, and will soon be called
Loulou’s Coffee house.

The couple has also rapidly expanded the menu to include more alternative fare for their clients.

“We have lots of vegan baked goods and in-house vegan cheese. A lot of places use cashews or almonds as a base, but we use a sweet potato base because of peanut allergies,” Lacross said.“All baked goods are allergen free, our entire bakery case.”

Vegan choices and allergen-free food are only a small part of the couple’s vision. Their plans involve fresh bread, homemade salad dressings, and a dedication to providing a venue for community-based events that will feature live music and open mic nights.

The coffee house is pursuing a liquor license as well to include beer, wine, and breakfast mimosas to its menu.

Lacross and Mullikin have a lot in common. Mullikin is a veteran of the United States Navy, while Lacross is in the Naval Reserve.

Lacross is a business major at NVU-Johnson, while Mullikin takes classes to further his education as an environmental science major. Both are from Vermont; Lacross grew up in Fairfax, and Mullikin is from Montpelier.
Perhaps the biggest commonality is their love of good, healthy food.

Mullikin pursued his love of making French pastries while working for a French pastry chef in Colorado. Lacross has been no stranger to the craft herself, working at the Dream Cafe in Johnson for the past year.

When the Dream Cafe came up for sale in January, it seemed logical for the couple to purchase the venue. “We had the money and the opportunity came up,” Lacross said. “I really wanted to make Brendon’s dream a reality.”

Although Mullikan and Lacross will be making changes, the venue already has a long list of regular customers.

“We have a lot of local regulars every day, and a great group of ladies comes in every Saturday. The old owner comes in every Sunday for brunch,” Lacross said. “We would like to get college kids down here as well. This cafe… is really a fixture of the town.”`

During its nearly quarter century, the café has seen a succession of owners and incarnations, beginning as the French Press in the early 1990s. Subsequent names have included Bad Girls’ Cafe, Groovin Beans, the Loving Cup, and the Dream Cafe. A distinctly welcoming, down-home atmosphere has characterized all of them, a quality upon which Lacross and Mullikan clearly intend to build.