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.
There’s so many changes in the coffee shop scene in Fresno and Clovis that I was tempted to headline this “As the Coffee Bean Turns.” We’ve got attractive new players in the market, and a surprise kill-off of one longtime coffee shop. Here’s a rundown on the recent coffee shop action.
On The Edge coffee house has opened in the heart of Old Town Clovis on Pollasky Avenue. The little coffee shop has an amazing patio out back with a mural on its huge brick wall. On The Edge is owned by the same family who used to run the New
The patio at On The Edge coffee shop on Pollasky Avenue in Clovis.
Found Gold shop a few doors down. Jaynae Glenn, 19, is the driving force behind the business. She’s also planning her wedding. Her Superwoman cape is invisible.
Another coffee shop, Kuppa Joy Coffee House, is getting ready to open in early November about a block away on Clovis Avenue near 5th Street. Clovis High grad and former Detroit Lions football player Zack Follett is behind this one. I’ll have more details when it’s closer to opening.
For the next in my 7Qs series, I cornered Ephiram Bosse to ask him questions about his recently opened Fulton Mall business, Fresno Brewing Co. It’s a coffee place with plans for beer in the coming months — hitting both ends of the brewing spectrum, ya know?
One update to something Bosse talks about in the video: Twee Boutique, the cool Tower District boutique, has opened a second location next to Fresno Brewing Co., in what sounds like it’s going to be a commune of cool stuff.
It’s National Coffee Day, and while 7-11 was handing out free coffee and people went about their regular Starbucks routine, we thought it was a worthwhile time to call attention to a local business that’s doing great things with coffee.
For example, Saturday’s sold-out tasting will teach guests about brewing methods, grind and water temperature.
Rios says he likes lighter roasts that “preserve as much bean character as possible.” He also favors unusual coffees, such as the two that will be featured at Saturday’s tasting: Ethiopia Organic Sidamo Guji Maduro (which evokes varied flavors of cherry, plum and peach as it cools) and El Salvador Los Luchadores Pacamara. (Scroll down this page to see the full description).
For information about future tastings or to place an order, call (559) 492-7047. Pickup hours are noon-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays.
Photo above of Leo Rios holding unroasted coffee beans. Photo credit: Joan Obra.