Like when you’re greeted by someone who flashes a warm smile, makes direct eye contact, and engages with you in such a familiar way that you begin to think that perhaps that person has mistaken you for someone else – like a regular customer, or the boss’ sister? But after a quick glance around, you realize that you’re the only person standing in line.
So…you must be the recipient of this VIP treatment. It’s somewhat discombobulating, but yet oh-so-wonderful, to be regarded more like a human being than just a customer, isn’t it? This is what it feels like every time I go to The Coffee Shop at Joplin Greenhouse. In addition to its exceptional customer service, The Coffee Shop also offers quality local products (including coffee, of course), inventive menu items, and lots of greenery (hello, nature!), making it one of my favorite places to go to meet with friends or to get some writing done.
Opened in September 2018, The Coffee House shares a building with Joplin Greenhouse, and is located in front of the Food for Less store on 32nd Street.The interior of the shop looks like the work of HGTV’s Joanna Gaines, with its stained concrete floors, exposed ductwork, corrugated metal focal walls, black and white tiles, and, yes, shiplap. This industrial look is softened by a multitude of plants (courtesy of Joplin Greenhouse) that are spaced throughout the shop, and on a living wall – in front of which there is a selfie station that my daughter and I had fun using (see our Instagram boomerang at the end of this post). Feel like you’re outdoors while you sip your coffee at one of the tables next to the koi pond created by Inside Out Designs. Or, when the weather is warm enough, physically go outdoors and sit at one of The Coffee Shop’s covered tables.
Local is the focus here, and The Coffee Shop proudly serves coffee from Bearded Lady Coffee Roasters and Cottage Small Coffee Roasters, as well as Kansas City’s Hugo Tea Co. products. In addition to the regular beverage menu, there are special drinks each month, like the festive Eggnog Shooter, or refreshing iced Ozark Stinger, sweetened with local honey. Over the winter, I got hooked on the Dark Chocolate Cortado drink special, made with Bearded Lady espresso, Ozark Mountain Creamery chocolate milk, and dark chocolate pieces (finding the chocolate at the bottom of the cup is like discovering a treasure!). Even though the Dark Chocolate Cortado is not on the regular menu, the staff will gladly make it upon request – another sign of excellent customer service.To go with your coffee, try The Coffee Shop’s unique offering: the puffle, a soft, lightly sweet puffed waffle. Fill it with ice cream for a sweet treat, or choose the savory Breakfast Puffle any time of the day; it’s filled with bacon, egg, cheese, guacamole, Sriracha sauce, and maple syrup, and delivers a salty, sweet, savory mixture of flavors.
I’ve also tried the Avocado Toast special here, which is served with tangy feta cheese crumbles, and fiery Sriracha sauce. If you’re hankering for some baked goods, sample a macaron, cupcake, or cookie made by local baker Maggie Brown of Willis Baking. Always committed to encouraging local entrepreneurs, The Coffee Shop has opened its kitchen for Maggie to use so that she can access the resources she needs in order to grow her business. This movement to support local businesses is not new to Curt Carr, the owner of Joplin Greenhouse. Prior to opening The Coffee Shop, he operated The Marketplace in the same space, carrying local and organic produce, meats, and other goods. He continues that tradition by selling local goods at The Coffee Shop. Curt hit the jackpot when he hired Adam Lopardo, and his wife Ivy – both former Starbucks employees – to run The Coffee Shop. Prior to working at The Coffee Shop, Adam honed his barista skills by completing the Starbuck’s Coffee Master program, but it was his time at Best Buy that taught him something equally valuable. There, he worked in the Geek Squad, hiring employees who demonstrated good customer service skills first, and then training them on information technology.Adam has applied that same model at The Coffee Shop. He does not hire baristas; rather, he hires people who radiate hospitality, and then he trains them in the art of coffee-making.Because you can teach employees to make a good cup of coffee, but you can’t teach them to care about the customers.Lucky for us, at The Coffee Shop, they do both.