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Little Rock’s Fidel & Co Has it All

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Fidel & Co, one of Little Rock’s newest coffee shops in the redeveloped East Village District, is a rare combination of beauty and substance, combining a gorgeous, modern, yet warm setting with top-notch coffee and baked goods.

The concept is the vision of Fidel and Sarah Samour, along with business partner, childhood friend, and renowned El Salvador coffee farmer, Jorge Raul Rivera.

“I was first intrigued with coffee about eight or nine years ago, so I began learning more about brew methods. I loved visiting specialty coffee shops and roasters around the United States while I traveled. The more I got into it, the more deep-seated my love and passion for coffee became. Almost two years ago–after three years of looking for the right space–I heard of The Distillery development in East Village that had the promise of space for a coffee shop. Without hesitation, I jumped on the opportunity to become part of the project. I was fortunate to find great people, who comprise an amazing team. Garrett White, our first hire, was instrumental in helping build our stellar team,” says co-owner Fidel Samour.

Fidel & Co currently uses and sells Onyx Coffee, a name familiar to most Arkansans, especially those who love quality coffee.

“This buys us time to get our roastery fully operational. Because of their commitment to quality, their passion for coffee, and their love for all of those involved in the coffee supply chain, we partnered with Onyx. Their coffee and training provided a solid foundation for our baristas. Don’t be surprised if you continue to see Onyx as an offering on our coffee bar well into us starting to roast and feature our coffee. We’re deeply grateful to Jon and Andrea Allen at Onyx Coffee Lab,” says Samour.

While the coffee is fantastic at Fidel & Co, and you can get a full selection of traditional drink favorites, the java is only half of the equation. The food is every bit as impressive.

“We know food is an important part of our café experience. Our chefs, Michael Qandah and Jonathan Levi, work hard to produce fresh, high-quality offerings, including housemade bread and pastries. Our food program seeks to leave a lasting impression on those who visit Fidel & Co, focusing on innovative and creative ways to complement our coffee experience. Many of our items borrow from my Middle Eastern and Salvadorian heritage.”

That includes the Salvy Cake, a cute, subtly sweet personal-sized pound cake topped with sesame seeds. If you see it in the case, buy it. Same goes for the insanely delicious Arkansas Cornmeal Cookie, a buttery, sweet, salty, and gritty offering, made with local cornmeal. The brownie, a small slab of dense, chewy chocolate, is also a must-order, as are any of Fidel & Co’s muffins. Honestly, it is just a matter of time before I work my way through the entire menu. Other options include tacos, hand pies, biscuits, and sandwiches, just to name a few. The menu seems to rotate daily, so keep an eye on the website.

In the meantime, head over to Fidel & Co.

You will not regret it.

 

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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