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If you did a Google search or a “unique place to get coffee, food, and cocktails in Fayetteville,” most likely, the road would lead you directly to Arsaga’s Mill District.
There is something really special about the Arsaga Family. They thrive on ongoing collaborations, and each new Arsaga’s location is never the same thing.
Arsaga’s Coffee Roasters is a small, family-owned business located in the Ozark Mountains that started in 1992. Over the years, co-founders and husband-wife team, Cary and Cindy Arsaga, began to expand locations – some coffee only, some coffee with only a series of “toast-related” foods, and some with pastries and limited menu items.
More and more Arsaga family members joined their round table and jumped in by overseeing stores as they opened.
Cary and Cindy’s daughter Ava is the “Factotum” of the family business, considering herself the “catchall” for the coffee roaster brand. “The title of owner expands to whoever has things they want to do,” Ava shared with me. “Officially, my parents are the owners. My sister, my husband, and my aunt are all involved with operations and keep things going. We all have different areas of focus.”
Arsaga’s Mill District is officially Ava’s focus area – yet she is quick to share that “we find people who are really talented and give them free rein of what they are interested in when it comes to the menu. It’s a collaborative and vibrant space where a lot of different talented people are making interesting things happen.”
Arsaga’s Mill District is like a mash-up of all their previous and current locations rolled into one with coffee, food, and cocktails.
For those familiar with the Fayetteville scene, you will be quick to notice that The Mill (that’s how the family references it) is in the old Greenhouse Grille building. Arsaga purchased it from the previous owners back in 2018 with the idea of opening sometime in either late 2019 or early 2020.
We all know what happened in 2020, and that summer, The Mill opened their curbside first. By the end of the year, they were able to open up the dining room, careful to provide contactless ordering and all kinds of measures to keep things safe as possible for customers.
One of Arsaga’s more popular locations was The Depot on Dickson Street. When the Arsaga Family knew they would lose it because of a new parking deck, they planned to move all their staff and energies to The Mill.
Interestingly, The Depot was sort of an accident. They didn’t intend to open a restaurant within their coffee shop and were a bit surprised by its success. So, with The Mill, they determined to design it as a “real restaurant” with a wonderful work environment for their employees.
The Mill has a standard menu, and they publish specials and seasonal foods on their social channels.
“We like to keep things fluid and change seasonally to incorporate whatever is around and interesting.”
If you’re in the mood for hot drinks, try Arsaga’s single-origin Espresso. Or, try a tasting espresso flight where you can taste the house coffee right next to a single origin.
Arsaga’s Nitro coffee tastes creamy – yet there’s no dairy in it, and it’s delightful. Ava’s personal favorite is the Grape Soda with frozen grapes. “You feel like you’re in Willy Wonka land when you drink this.”
You also can’t go wrong with the original Classic Soda made with cherry and cacao vanilla.
Breakfast is always delicious at The Mill and caters to just about everybody with vegetarian offerings, vegan offerings, and everything in between. The Brezinski Breakfast is named after one of their late employees. If you go light, one can never go wrong with a yogurt bowl.
The lunch and dinner are consistent in feel but changes seasonally. Everything is cooked from scratch using whatever is local in season. “The menu evolves,” Ava says. “There are some standards we keep for customer familiarity, but there is always an element of changed worked in the menu.”
I highly recommend the Fried Chicken Po’Boy, a country-fried chicken thigh on a baguette with tomato, onion, shredded lettuce, pickles and magic sauce. There’s always a bit of a NOLA slant to the menu since Cary Arsaga is originally from New Orleans.
Because of the creativity needed to open the location during the pandemic, Mill Corner Grocery at The Mill was born. The goal was to provide their food and sources so that people could come and take it home.
The Grocery was well-received because it made the dining experience more affordable. And, on top of that, The Mill received good feedback from families with kids on how good and easy it was to take home meals and local goods such as breads, creamery, and yogurts!
Ava shared that it was very strange to open without letting customers in originally. She – and the family – are very thankful that the place is now open to everybody.
“It’s been important to us that the place is open to everybody. You can be standing in line with a business professional, a punk, a mother, a teenager and all are exposed to each other. It helps stitch together that different people can get along. That’s very important to us. It’s so nice when people can come in and experience it. We’ve already and people who have important moments like proposals, going to college, all kinds of moments. People living their lives in our space, that is why we do it.”
Arsaga’s Mill District
481 South School Avenue
Tuesday-Saturday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sundays – 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
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