Green Frog Coffee Company, a local favorite known for their expansive food menu and artisan coffee, has announced numerous major expansions that will provide more food, drinks and jobs in Jackson and surrounding areas.
Among the announcements were the opening of the Middleton location, the moving and expansion of a Dyersburg location, the opening of a south Jackson location and a significant menu expansion in all locations.
The new location openings are expected to bring a total of 90 jobs across all four locations.
Tim Johnson, the owner of Green Frog Coffee Co., sat down with The Jackson Sun to discuss the expansion.
Green Frog Coffee and Grill in Middleton
Tucked into the heart of Downtown Middleton is the Green Frog’s newest location, located at 100 North Main Street. Renovated from the former Rainbo Inn Café, the new restaurant will boast a completely updated interior, unique décor, a full drive-thru and indoor and outdoor dining.
“We began this partnership back in January 2021 with Keith and Lori Shelly, of JP Shelly and Sons in Downtown Middleton,” Johnson said. “Keith is originally from Middleton…they have a vision for bringing life back to Middleton. They’re really investing heavily in their community.
“They thought ‘why don’t we bring a high-end coffee café to Middleton?’ And I spent some time with them, saw their business and their heart, and thought “this is a perfect match.’”
Johnson says the location will “have everything Jackson has,” apart from the plate lunches.
“It will seat about 40 people inside and about 20 people on the patio,” he said. “It’s going to be a real destination-place that you’ll want to go to. The buildout is very well done.”
The location plans to staff 18 people, with 10 being fulltime and eight part-time.
The branch hopes to open near the end of August.
The Java Café of Dyersburg
The Java Café , located at 1130 Highway 51- Bypass, is the first café owned by Johnson and the origin of what is now known as the Green Frog Coffee Company. After seeing tremendous growth during 2020, Johnson knew it was time for an upgrade.
“We grew during COVID—about 6 percent in 2020,” Johnson said. “One of the reasons was because of our drive-thrus. So we invested more money in our drive-thru in Dyersburg. We saw phenomenal growth in all of our locations, but the drive-thru was number one.”
While watching this growth, Johnson realized that there simply wasn’t enough room for the amount of business they were getting.
“Java has some food, but we just didn’t have space (for more)—we only had 1,200 square feet there,” he said. “So we signed the deal—we’re moving into a brand new 3,000 sq. foot space in April 2022 and have a full expansion of the menu that Green Frog in Jackson has.”
The new location, which will be mere minutes down the road from the current location, will sit in front of the Dyersburg AMC movie theatre. It will also formally adopt the name “Green Frog Coffee and Grill.”
The new location will keep its current employees, and likely hire an additional 10 full time jobs.
Construction is expected to begin this fall, with completion anticipated in April 2022.
New South Jackson location
As if the company wasn’t already busy enough, Johnson is also opening a new location in South Jackson.
Located at 1649 South Highland in what used to be the Wagon Wheel restaurant and Snappy Tomato Pizza, Johnson spotted the location while driving back and forth to the Middleton construction.
“I’d see all the traffic, and I was like ‘Man. I need to look at South Jackson,’” he said. “So I reached out to a realtor, put a bug in their ear.”
Johnson was not expecting to hear back quickly, and was only anticipating tackling the project within the next year. However, fate had different plans.
“They called me back the next day!” he laughed.
Renovations have just begun “in earnest” at the location, and Johnson hopes to be open sometime in October.
“That’s going to be about 26 new jobs,” he said.
Johnson believes it is a good location for the café due to small number of coffee-centric restaurants in the area.
“We feel like our menu is unique enough that we can offer some different things, and pull enough of a loyal fanbase that we’ll be able to do well,” he said.
New menu launch
For loyal Green Frog customers who already have their preferred location, there is still exciting things underway: an massive menu expansion will be adding new flavors to the café’s pallet, while only removing a few “slow-moving” items.
“We have been spending some time with a chef, and toured some trending restaurants throughout that state to see what’s trending and what people want,” Johnson said.
The company’s first tentative change was the addition of bowl items a few years ago—which worked startlingly well, particularly in North Jackson.
“We sell about 1,200 bowls a month now,” he said. “That taught me that if you’re willing to invest, and bring things that taste good to the menu that are current and trendy, they can do extremely well. You don’t have to stay inside the box.
“So we just looked at ‘what can we do that is doable for us,’ and ‘what type of flavors can we go with?’”
The new flavors that have been added are:
Coffee and ice cream:
- “New iced drinks” that are “similar (but better) than the pink drink and green tea matcha latte”
- honey and lavender latte flavors
- power teas
- loaded teas
- Key Lime Pie and Lavender ice cream flavors
- seasonal salad
- Thai chicken sandwich
- fried green tomato BLT
- gourmet grilled cheese
- tomato basil soup
- crabcake appetizer
- build your own beignets or skillet brownie dessert
- breakfast skillet sizzlers with keto options
- street tacos with fish option
- new beach bum burger, barbecue burger, and revamped black berry burger
- build your own quesadilla
- 12oz Halpern aged ribeye steaks (served after 4pm)
Throughout all of these changes, Johnson emphasizes that he is thankful to the customers who make it possible.
“Our customers supported us and were faithful to us (throughout 2020), I feel like because they know we’re locally owned,” he said. “They did a phenomenal job of just keeping coming.”
Many spots in the new locations still need filling, with Johnson willing to fight for employees.
“We’re going to pay $1-2 more than anyone else,” he said. “We will beat your pay. We want the best, and we know we if we want the best we have to pay.”
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