Big Iron Coffee opens new cafe in downtown Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — On Thursday evening, Bowen Rodkey was busy installing beetle-kill panels to the front of the counter at Big Iron Coffee Co.’s new café location in downtown Steamboat Springs.
It’s only been a few weeks since Rodkey and his wife, Nina Mundy Rodkey, completed the purchase of the Steamboat Coffee House with the plan of opening Big Iron Coffee’s second location. The couple is renovating the space to make it brighter and more inviting and to put their stamp on a location at 635 Lincoln Ave. that has housed many of Steamboat Springs’ most recognizable coffee houses over the years.
“This is just such a legacy coffee shop,” Rodkey said as he worked to complete the final details before a planned soft opening Saturday. “This place has been a coffee shop since the 1980s. We are in the shadow of Mocha Molly’s and the Steaming Bean, and we want to continue that with a super focus, not just on quality, but on good attitude and positive vibes.”
Rodkey, who worked at the Steamboat Coffee House for about six months a year ago, said the opportunity fell into the couple’s lap last summer when he bumped into his old boss while promoting Big Iron Coffee at the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market, and they started talking.
“He basically informed me that he was thinking about selling the coffee house,” Rodkey said. “We talked about numbers, looked at the books and did the business stuff.”
• Big Iron Coffee Co. roastery and mini-cafe, 2835 Downhill Plaza, No. 604 — open 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday.
• Big Iron Coffee Co., 635 Lincoln Ave., Suite C — open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The Rodkeys have been operating Big Iron Coffee Co. at 2835 Downhill Plaza since January. The couple roasts Big Iron’s unique blends and runs a small tasting room that is often packed to capacity on most mornings.
“We didn’t think that we would even want to have a downtown café,” Rodkey said. “We just wanted to keep it really simple, but that completely changed when we started doing the farmers market. People were really excited about our brand and just excited about specialty coffee being back in Steamboat.”
Nina Rodkey is also excited about the new venture.
“We have so many wonderful businesses around us,” Nina said. “It’s a really welcoming community. We were kind of outgrowing our spot. We have not even been open for a year, and we get regulars that come in several times a day. We get kind of busy, but it’s really small.”
The new location will focus on traditional coffees, but the shop will strive to meet every customer’s need.
“Coffee-wise, we do fairly traditional stuff,” Bowen Rodkey said. “But, our whole thing is that we don’t say ‘no’ to anybody or anything. If you want some crazy flavor that has chocolate and sweet stuff, we can make that happen.”
There will also be a selection of cold and nitro cold brews offered and a sparkling dry hops lemonade that made a splash at the farmers market last summer.
“It’s a seriously unique product that I don’t think anybody else has,” Rodkey said. “It’s an organic lemonade, and we dry hop it with mosaic hops that we get from Storm Peak [Brewing Co.], and it’s really awesome.”
Customers will also find a wide selection of baked goods behind the counter along with the staff they have come to know at the Steamboat Coffee House.
“That was one of the reasons I was excited about taking over the Steamboat Coffee House,” Rodkey said. “We are saving the entire staff, and I have worked alongside three of them, and I hired and trained the current manager. They have a very customer service-oriented attitude, and all I need to do is train them to be a little more geeky about coffee, and we will be in a sweet spot.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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