Right at home: French-inspired café welcomes guests to a cozy, relaxing experience

Jennie Doran and her husband Andrew Worm have spent the past decade creating comfortable, inviting spaces in both their Ohio City home and in their lifestyle boutique Room Service.

“Our passion and forte is creating beautiful spaces in a shopping environment while also providing guests with a comfortable experience,” says Doran. “Some people come into our shop and say, 'I wish I could live here.’ So that’s how the conversation started—how can we expand this experience for everyone.”

That conversation led to the creation of The Judith—a French-inspired café in a 115-year-old brick building on Lorain Avenue in the Detroit Shoreway.

The cafe opens this Friday, Feb. 10, at 8 a.m.

The 28-seat café serves espresso, a collection of breakfast pastries, as well a seasonal menu of fresh salads, baguette sandwiches, tartines, and shareable small plates to enjoy over a glass of wine. Other culinary specialties include charcuterie boards, a mix of marinated olives, and a duo of heirloom Corona beans.

Pastries are sourced from On the Rise in Cleveland Heights, while breads are from Leavened in Tremont. Doran and Worm will make some pastries themselves as home, Doran says, and eventually they will serve a curated selection of beer and wine.

“We are very passionate and practiced home cooks," she explains. “Our love of fresh ingredients and exploring the textures and flavors of fresh ingredients have led up to this offering. It’s feeling very full circle to release it to other humans and let it be a thing in the world—it’s so deeply satisfying.”

The century-old brick building used to exist as Miller’s Dry Cleaners, Doran says, and still has the original wood floors and tin ceilings.

The Judith features vintage décor—much of it from Doran’s and Worm’s own collection—and the couple designed and built the butcherblock bar with a quartz front. Behind the bar hangs a photo of Worm’s mother, and the café’s namesake, Judith.

“We’re going for an Old World feel —pop in anytime for an espresso or for a glass of wine with a friend,” Doran says. “We wanted that feeling in larger cities like New York or Paris, where spaces are really close. It really feels intimate, and that’s what we wanted.”
Espresso, patisserie, tartine, baguette sandwiches, seasonal salads, & sweet things at The JudithEspresso, patisserie, tartine, baguette sandwiches, seasonal salads, & sweet things at The Judith
The Judith will open in phases, with hours currently from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Hours will extend in the coming months. Future phases include re-opening a west side location of Room Service in a back building (the first Room Service location was in Ohio City and closed in 2021; a second location is in The Van Aken District in Shaker Heights).

Doran says they then have plans for a raised-bed garden on the west side of the building and an event and gathering space on the second floor of the back building.

“It will be a place to meet and talk and move—be a part of the ecosystem we’re trying to crate on the corner of West 52nd and Lorain,” she says. “The Judith is a big, grand, heartfelt push for this thing we’re trying to build.”

The Judith is located at 5222 Lorain Ave, in the Detroit Shoreway. Hours are currently 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Room Service is in The Van Aken District, 3444 Tuttle Road, Shaker Heights.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.