Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Iron Bird Cafe closes … again

The last coconut mocha has been served at the Iron Bird Cafe. The downtown business on Fulton Street in the Iron Bird Lofts is officially closed.

Owner Ann Liao said Wednesday that the business wasn’t making enough money to cover the cost of being open 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of coffee beans and other expenses kept rising as Iron Bird struggled to serve early birds and a growing late night crowd. Rather than skimp on quality to cut costs, she decided to close.

It’s the second time a business named Iron Bird Cafe has closed in the location. The original coffee shop, which opened about the same time as the lofts, didn’t make it. Liao, who owns three Teazer World Market locations in Fresno, reopened Iron Bird Cafe about 10 months ago with a partner who specializes in coffee. They revamped the menu and brought in several new global types of coffee.

The regret in Liao’s voice was palpable when we spoke via phone.
“It’s tearing me apart,” she said. “We gave it our best try and I think customers loved it. People who do support it, support it 100%. We never really heard anything bad about about the service or the coffee.”

Iron Bird closed Dec. 31 for the New Year’s holiday and will not reopen.

Perhaps anticipating the round of doubts about downtown this might inspire, she said this in a goodbye message on the Iron Bird’s Facebook page:

The huge amount of construction going on in downtown and the many people moving towards this area hold great promise. We believe that soon someone with a fresh set of eyes will be able to make that location their own and make it happen in a way that works for the area.

Responses to "Iron Bird Cafe closes … again"

james says:

Cheers to Ann and Assi – thanks for what you’ve added to downtown.

JJJ says:

Such a shame. I don’t blame the concept or location, I blame the service (which if I recall correctly, was 95% of the comments the last time it closed).

20+ minutes to get a coffee and hot chocolate when there are two employees and youre the only customers is unacceptable. I gave them the benefit of the doubt as that was soon after it opened, and I figured the staff was still learning….but a couple months later, same story. You simply cant run a coffee shop on waits like that, regardless of how good the product is.

Matt P. says:

Sad to see them go.

Even though I preferred other coffee in Fresno, I always admired IBC’s cafe-model and significance as a Downtown Fresno anchor.

Hopefully another Downtown-friendly business can fill the space here soon.

Jennifer Renzi says:

Loved the place. Thanks for trying, Ms. Liao. :(

Will Connors says:

When will all the wannabe hipsters figure it out? Downtown Fresno is basically the 3rd world. There is failure after failure down there. No normal person with money to spend wants to be anywhere near there. Fresno is not that kind of city. Get over it.

LMW says:

Too sad. I really enjoyed the place and the atmosphere.
It’s a shame the ‘normal’ people in this city prefer to spend their money at the same chain strip malls that exist in every other suburb of America, while refusing to experience the the real authentic culture in our own back yard.
If you ever actually went downtown you’d realize that Fresno Is that kind of city, but it’s being left unused. We simply have to wake it up.

Paulii says:

There’s no real plan. Too many have invested and lost, believing the “leaders” who claim to be rebuilding downtown, when in fact they simply spend millions on studies and do nothing at all to actually revitalize downtown.

Downtown’s have been revitalized throughout the nation. The formula is not that difficult to comprehend. A planed entertainment district, with a low barrier to entry, based on live entertainment surrounded by lots of dining. Once this is established, the other stuff follows. Without a vibrant entertainment district, downtown will never be revitalized and taxpayer dollars will be flushed down the drain on endless studies and cosmetics that do nothing to establish real consumer traffic.

Jason says:

….and look at this! A street with traffic and a store fronts!!!! This is what they are going to do to the Fulton Mall now. We’ll have no history left after they rip out the mall, and we’ll have a street with empty store fronts…just like on this part of Fulton Street.


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