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If a coffee shop can feel as fresh and relevant today as it did twenty-eight years ago, that’s how you know it isn’t your ordinary coffee shop. It’s Iron Horse Coffee Company.
The year was 1998 and Emery Davis was about to embark on something unheard of in Northwest Arkansas. He was opening a coffee shop, a first for the area. People thought he was crazy, telling him, “What? You mean you’re going to charge me for something I can make myself? You want me to PAY for coffee?”
It took someone with vision who could sniff out opportunity via an unconventional lens. And that someone was Emery.
Located in charming historic downtown Rogers, the whole Iron Horse Coffee Company building is Emery’s brainchild. He is the creative force and he puts things together that you wouldn’t think should go together. Somehow, it works.
Walking through the front door of the coffee shop, you will immediately feel welcomed by the comfy-coziness that a historic building brings. And yet there’s an edge to the environment, too.
Take your time to simply stroll the building from front to back and up to the loft. You’ll see to see what I mean. Quirky decor, out-of-the-ordinary books, and outlandish photos are right at home next to comfy couches and welcoming nooks and crannies.
There’s even a wall with clocks from places that “stand out” to Emery. The clocks were a gift from a customer and she continues to bring updated plaques every few years. In an offbeat twist, three out of the four clocks are set for the same time zone.
Actually, there is no direct meaning. Apparently, Emery and his brother were throwing around names and this one stuck. Some say they heard that Iron Horse is named after the iron railroad that is steps away. What’s the real answer? He’ll tell you a different story every time.
1) the coffee
2) the food
3) the loft
4) how they make people feel
Emery is originally from Louisiana, so you will find a darker French roast style. This dark roast is used as part of the blend to create their house roast. Want a really good strong coffee? Go with the Berserker, made with two shots of espresso added to a large house coffee.
Definitely, a lot of time and love goes into their sandwiches. The Numan Sandwich is a popular one and not to be missed. Smoked turkey on fresh sourdough topped with provolone cheese, coleslaw, and a homemade remoulade sauce and mayo. It’s an experience.
My personal favorite (since 1998!) is the Mr. Zeus Sandwich, made with smoked turkey, ham, and pastrami on sourdough with red onion, lettuce, provolone and mayo topped with a Greek olive salad tapenade. I don’t eat red onions or ham and let me assure you it’s insanely delicious without it! In fact, if it was just homemade sourdough with homemade tapenade, I’d go bonkers over it. It’s that good.
Iron Horse does a different soup every day and when the cool weather season comes, you’ll see the soup menu expand. The crowd favorite is the tomato bisque and it’s on the menu every day.
All their pastries are also homemade. In case you wondered, the chocolate cappuccino muffin is a definite must-try.
Lunchtime is getting busier and busier, so if you’re in a hurry, call your order in ahead.
I always make a beeline up the stairs to the loft. This is a space I frequented pretty much every weekday for about fifteen years when I worked in the building next to Iron Horse Coffee Company.
The loft has a wall-to-wall bookcase. Manager Hailey Skagg says that Iron Horse Coffee Company “loves to have people come in to read. We’ll give out bookmarks at the counter so you can keep your place. We don’t sell or rent the books because they are for everyone.”
In a nutshell, Iron Horse Coffee Company just wants to make it comfortable for you. Anybody who walks in will immediately feel like family.
“Every single person is welcome,” says Hailey. “We don’t care what you did right outside the door, come on it. For anyone who is intimidated to go into a coffee shop, this is not the one to be intimidated. All are welcome. Ask questions. Ask about ingredients. Ask about our processes. We are really proud from start to finish. Don’t have any preconceived notions because we aren’t your average coffee shop.”
220 S First Street
Sunday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday-Friday 6:30a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
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