Donella Westphal’s unexpected yet rewarding journey to owning Jules’ Bistro

If you’re from the St. Cloud area and haven’t been to Jules’ Bistro yet, you are definitely missing out! From breakfast to dinner, coffee to wine, Jules’ Bistro has something for everyone!

Jules’ is owned by Donella Westphal, a 2003 St. Cloud State English Department graduate. If you’re interested in hearing about Donella’s journey to own Jules’, check out this article that so clearly describes her journey.

Located at 921 W St Germain St, St Cloud, MN 56301, the Bistro is just a short jog from campus, just 0.7 miles, to be exact! It’s the perfect stop on a morning run or a great place to begin a night out.




If you’re looking for a different experience, check out Jules’! Here are just a few reasons they are different than the restaurants and cafés you normally frequent:

artisan flatbread pizzas
vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options
baked-from-scratch cakes, scones and cookies
made-from-scratch soups and chilis
unique daily specials
live music and local art
handcrafted espresso drinks
wines you won’t find at any other St. Cloud restaurant
over 30 craft beers


Jules’ Bistro has a wide selection of delish dishes. According to their website, “Jules’ combines a casually sophisticated menu with a cozy, artistic atmosphere. We believe food crafted thoughtfully is food done right, and take pride in cooking and baking from scratch. Since 2005, we’ve been putting our own spin on pizza, paninis, salads and much more.”



Why not find a restaurant where you can order dinner and enjoy a show? During non-COVID times, Jules’ has a wide variety of artists, musician, comedians, and more come into the bistro to provide (often free) entertainment! Check their website for upcoming events. When COVID settles down and they bring acts back, you won’t want to miss the shows!



One of the greatest aspects of living in and around the St. Cloud area is the local support businesses have for each other. Jules’ Bistro is no exception. They currently give back to nine local organizations: Anna Marie’s Alliance, Pathways 4 Youth, Operation Baby New Year Diaper Drive, St. Cloud State University Athletic Department, St. Cloud Shines, MN Dance Ensemble, St. Cloud Area Singing Saints Barbershop Chorus, Tri-County Human Society, and Girl Scouts Lakes & Pines. Help support these local organizations by supporting Jules’.



Beyond supporting the specific organizations mentioned above, Jules’ works hard to locally source as much as they can. Jules’ espresso and coffee beans come from a small roaster in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dogwood Coffee Company, they source their pure maple syrup from a small company in Mora, Minnesota, Sapsucker Farms, their honey comes from Ames Farm, raw honey made in Minnesota, and they even support central Minnesota garbage company, West Central Sanitation, for all their garbage removal needs! Check out their “Partners” page for more information about other companies they support. I love supporting local and I feel like I’m doing so by supporting Jules’.



Did you know that Jules’ caters events? Need I say more?


If you’re still not sold on Jules’, check out Jules’ in the News where you’ll find a variety of articles and other places Jules’ has been featured.

Their food is delicious. Their service is amazing. Their team is very friendly! It’s the perfect place for you to sit down for a cup of coffee and a scone!

Calling all English Department faculty, students, and alumni!!

Did you know that you can be featured on our blog page??

We absolutely love featuring our current students, faculty, and alumni!


  1. Have you recently been published? Let us know the details and we’ll put together a post. We’d also love to publish a post you wrote.
  2. Are you teaching a really compelling course? (The answer should be “yes” because ALL of you are teaching really compelling courses.) Write something about the course and send it our way. We love to read about what’s happening within the walls of Webster!
  3. Got a fun story to share? Please share it!! This can be about anything. Exciting happenings in your class. Fun summer getaways. A funny story your niece told you the other day. We love to get to know our professors and would love to have you share your stories!


  1. Have you written a really interesting paper recently? Send it to us! We’d love to publish it on the blog! We really enjoy seeing what students are doing within our classrooms!
  2. Do you have any fun side projects happening? We’d love to hear about it! We like featuring students’ projects because we like showcasing our amazing English Department talent!
  3. Are you writing a thesis or working a culminating project? Featuring something like this on our blog is beneficial because it may give inspiration to future students as they begin to think about their own culminating projects.


  1. Are you published (or soon to be published)? Send us a link and short write-up about your pieces and we’ll link your work to our blog. We know we have some amazing alumni and your work deserves to be featured!
  2. How about a story from when you were attending SCSU? We quite like taking trips down memory lane! Please feel free to share your stories with the blog!
  3. What are you up to these days? We feel very connected to all of our alumni and would greatly appreciate to hear how you are doing, what you are doing, and how the English Department helped prepare you for your current adventures.

Do you have other ideas for submissions? Please, send them our way! If we haven’t said it before, we love featuring faculty, students, and alumni!! Please consider writing something for the blog!

Ayan Omar – Alum and Leader

This week, the SCSU English Department feels very fortunate to feature one of our past graduates, Ayan Omar.

Ms. Omar currently teaches Language Arts at St. Cloud Technical High School. Her students are very fortunate to be learning from such a tremendous leader.

In her words:

“When I was a little girl, a black-Somali-Muslim refugee little girl, earning a master’s degree in English never seemed imaginable. Earning a master’s degree in English Studies at St. Cloud State solidified my ambitious refugee narrative and community efforts. Like many great writers, growing up, reading became my vehicle to success. Books buried my failures and inspired my successes. Gifted writers taught me how to express myself more eloquently. I fell in love with language as an art. Even today, amid the chaos and division of society, I maintain my faith in a better world by reading one book at a time. In my earlier years, Maya Angelou, in her book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, validated that all my experiences color the storyline of my life. Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his book The Scarlet Letter, branded my otherness as a pearl, despite what those in power might think. Lastly, the great writers, Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau satiated my curiosity of transcendence. Their writings inspired me to practice intentional listening in search of a universal truth. Reading provided me a clear path to knowledge and pushed me toward civic engagement.

The English Studies graduate program at St. Cloud State fostered my personal growth. For instance, my thesis evaluated the goodness of black women using three of Toni Morrison’s greatest artifacts: The Bluest EyeBeloved, and Sula. These three creative works expose the conflicting disposition and the unconscious bias held toward black women’s goodness by society. With the help of Dr. Monica Pelaez, I uncovered how Morrison writes progressively and pragmatically about black women and for black women. The continuous support, patience, hard questions, and immense knowledge of Dr. Pelaez allowed me to narrow down my topic, structure my thesis, and revise continuously. Her insightful comments allowed me to learn and produce throughout the entire experience.

I am forever grateful to Toni Morrison and the faculty at St. Cloud State’s English department, specifically Dr. Monica Pelaez, Dr. Constance Perry, Dr. Judith Dorn, and Dr. Christopher Lehman, for their insightful guidance.”

If that isn’t inspiring, then I don’t know what is. We have such an esteemed faculty in our English department, and Ms. Omar does a great job highlighting that fact. We are so proud, as a department, to have been a part of Ms. Omar’s life and we are excited to see where her journey takes her.

Are you interested in learning more about Ms. Omar? 

Click here to read more about Ms. Omar and her journey!

Check out this video to hear her TED Talk!

Ms. Omar also had the opportunity to write a compelling article for the Washington Post where she discusses explaining her “faith to fearful Americans.”

If you’re still itching for more, please take the time to watch this video, a recording of “Face Value: Communication on a Human Scale,” a presentation she delivered at St. John’s University in 2019. Her story and

Last but not least, we highly encourage you to read her thesis, “What does it mean to be a good black woman?”, a study of the writings of Toni Morrison.

Former Student Published in TESL Canada Journal

The SCSU English Department has some really amazing students, both current and former. Many of our students go on to accomplish great things! An education from St. Cloud State provides students with the skills and opportunities to reach these accomplishments.

We were recently informed of one of these accomplishments. Darren LaScotte, former SCSU English Department student, recently had one of his papers accepted for publication.

Mr. LaScotte was a student in Dr. Kim Choonkyong’s ENGL 670 (Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition) course during the Summer 2019 semester. Following the course, he submitted his final paper, a perspective piece, to TESL Canada Journal. The paper was well received and was published on their site on July 31, 2020.

The abstract to Mr. LaScotte’s piece, “Leveraging Listening Texts in Vocabulary Acquisition for Low-literate Learners” is as follows:

To date, the vast majority of research in second language (L2) vocabulary acquisition has looked at reading, but relatively few studies have explored the potential for vocabulary acquisition through listening. As for participants involved, studies concerning first language (L1) acquisition have mainly focused on pre- and emergent-reading children, whereas those concerning L2 acquisition comprised learners already highly literate in their L1. Like other research areas of second language acquisition (SLA), learners with low or no literacy in their L1 have been virtually neglected in these studies. Clearly, who we study determines what we know in SLA, yet there exists a significant gap in research literature regarding how understudied, low-literate (and illiterate) populations with strong oral traditions may acquire L2 vocabulary through listening. This paper attempts to bridge the gap in research on cognitive processing and L2 vocabulary acquisition through listening. In light of this, relevant pedagogical implications for low-literate populations are discussed.

Let’s support Mr. LaScotte by heading over to TESL Canada Journal’s website and reading his piece!

You can also go straight to the PDF of his article by clicking here.

If you’d like to learn more about Mr. LaScotte, click here to view his Google Site.

If you liked “Leveraging Listening Texts in Vocabulary Acquisition for Low-literate Learners,” click here to see his other publications!

Unspeakable Things #1 Best Seller in Kindle Store!

Unspeakable Things by [Lourey, Jess]

#1 Best Seller!

English BA and MA alumna Jess Lourey’s latest thriller, Unspeakable Things, is currently #1 on Amazon’s Kindle store. What an amazing accomplishment!

Inspired by a terrifying true story from the author’s hometown, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota community where nothing is as quiet—or as safe—as it seems.

The book has garnered terrific praise from the likes of Publishers Weekly: “The suspense never wavers in this page-turner.” You can get Jess’s book from Amazon and read more about it and the author at She was also recently profiled by the Saint Cloud Times.

Congratulations, Jess!