Morning Owl Coffee House in Munroe Falls is now serving hand-dipped Country Maid ice cream in eight flavors, with waffle or sugar cones, or by the cup. Proprietors Joe and Danelle Hickin said it’s because they like it. Danelle stated: “We go there all the time,” and Joe q
uickly added with a chuckle, “Now we don’t have to.” Danelle went on, “Yeah, I mean, we like the texture and the taste of it so…and it’s not like it’s everywhere.” The Hickins said they liked the fact that it was a local place [in Richfield] and an independent business.
In addition to the ice cream, Morning Owl began offering Belgian waffles on Saturdays and Sundays after the first of the year. A special treat that comes with them is Amish made natural maple syrup from Millersburg, Ohio.
The Business Model
Their business model is unique to the area – each cup is individually made to order – not in big batches like so many other places. Joe said there are some places that do this but it’s not every time. “We’re the only one that does every cup fresh.” Danelle added, “They’ll do it if they’re low on coffee, or people specifically want a pour-over, but they don’t market it, really.” They did say that it’s trending on the west coast.
You have your choice of pour-overs, or French press styles, and they also serve cold-brewed coffee. The coffee beans are roasted locally and ground on the premises in small batches. Danelle selects beans from different countries around the world on a weekly basis in dark, medium, and light roasts plus a decaf. The rotation changes each week. Typical countries include: Brazil; Costa Rica; Ethiopia; Guatemala; Italy; Kenya; New Guinea; Nicaragua; Rwanda; Sumatra; and Timor.
Recently, for a special “Luau at the Owl” event, Joe had three pounds of organic Kona beans flown in from Hawaii. Needless to say – it sold out. Joe is also known for his signature coffee floats. An invention of his, they consist of: hand-dipped vanilla; cold-brewed coffee; choice of syrups like chocolate, butterscotch, or strawberry; and whipped cream with a cherry on top. Danelle said of their floats: “We’ll do a brown sugar – cinnamon, or we’ll do a banana one, or hazelnut. It depends on what kind of float they want.”
A selection of organic tea is also available along with Chai tea. And, if honey is your sweetener of choice, the Owl has a selection on hand for sale from a local apiary in Ravenna. Rounding out the menu are homemade soups plus a variety of fresh made sandwiches, and pastries made in-house daily.
Joe started their brick and mortar business first in November of 2015. Then, in the summer of 2016, he added a portable trailer to make the rounds of local farmer’s markets and other events. Danelle explained: “We did the pour-over station and we did a couple of floats and then we did a mocha, where it was hot chocolate and coffee put together. We did that instead of our basic mocha here. We always did cookies. For some random events we did specialty cookies. Like for the dog one we had sugar cookies with the dog faces on them.”
“We did muffins if it was a morning one, like at the fair,” Joe said. Danelle went on: “For the October Fest we did beer bread with the cookies. And also did the Norkas [soda] and ice tea. It was pretty basic.” Joe said, “We also did our hot chocolate when it got cold outside and hot apple cider in a crockpot in the fall. We called it Hot Apple Pie.”
The Owl also has an arrangement with Burning River Kayak Adventures. They keep floating thermos bottles in the back and the kayakers stop in and pick them up filled with hot coffee. “They just bring their kayakers here in the morning before they go to the put-in point on the river. They keep a dozen or so on hand and we’ll clean them,” Joe said. “They bring their own and we fill them up for them and then they’ll bring them back to us – it’s a Coffee Kayak Club they do,” Danelle added.
Each Thursday evening, from 7 to 9 p.m., the Hickins provide a venue for local songwriters and folksingers to entertain patrons with original music. Recent performers have included; Michael Bass; Shelby Olive on uke and Daniel Rylander on uke and guitar; Uncle Clyde; musician Zack; the duo of Home Dog in the Stars with Donald on keyboard and Carl on percussion; and singer/guitarist Emily Gambone.
Gambone, who began writing songs as a ‘tween’ now has a large repertoire of original music and has been performing locally for the past several years. She had this to say regarding performing at the Owl for the second time. “I had a couple of technical difficulties on my end the first time [but] I plan on coming back – I think it’s fun here. It’s like, I don’t know, the environment of it. So I hope they ask me back cause it would be fun.” When asked if the colors of the walls invoked an image of coffee, she replied, “Yes, it’s cozy. I feel like if the colors had a theme it would probably be Mocha.” They recently began experimenting with adding storytelling and poetry readings to the mix at the Owl in true coffee house tradition.
Putting her advertising degree from Kent State University to work, Danelle explained: “We’re going to have our own roast – that’s future stuff, and we’re going to do a nitro. We’re always trying different pastries.” With the addition of the nitrogen-infused cold-brew coffee they will still offer their standard cold-brew. “The nitrogen will be more expensive because it’s really concentrated and it’s super strong – like, you don’t want a lot,” Danelle said laughing. Joe said, “I’ve never felt quite a buzz from a coffee, and I felt it when we went and taste tested it – that was like, ‘whoa,’ so that was good. That’s going to be our own roast too, that we use, so it will be very unique.”
“And we are probably going to change up the seating a little. We’re going to get a window bar,” Danelle added. They are slowly doing different things, like a different stand for their products to sell. “Joe will build it against the wall. [There will be] new things to sell, like more candles, more shirts, and more of our coffee mugs that we had before. The ceramic maker is trying to figure out a ‘to-go’ mug for us. She hand spins them so has to get it perfect for the lid [to fit]. She’s working on that. Random stuff,” Danelle said. They like to support vendors that they’ve met at local farmer’s markets.
All the people they sell products for they’ve met at the markets or other events.
Morning Owl is located at 297 N. Main St. (S.R. 91 – just north of the bike trail.) Hours are: Monday to Wednesday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. In a hurry? Call ahead for your coffee to be hot and ready: (234) 312-9368.