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The Edge Coffeehouse & Eatery

by Emily Merrell, photography by Kayla Broadway

The Edge Coffeehouse & Eatery, located on the campus of Arkansas State University, has long been a popular refuge for students needing a pick-me-up or study break, as well as for those seeking a unique local culinary experience. The eatery’s new owners, Brian and Sarah Nobles, are breathing new life into the shop with plans for renovations, menu updates, artistic showcases and increased community involvement.

Neither Brian or Sarah are new to the business; both have been in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years.

“We started working in a bar and restaurant together shortly after we started dating and have been in the business together since,” said Brian. “A few years ago, we decided that if we were going to make this business our livelihood, we should work toward owning our own store. We started proactively studying different aspects of running a restaurant, but most importantly, we started branding ourselves and our craft (Sarah with food, and Brian with cocktails) through social media. This branding and our reputation in the industry led us to an opportunity that aligned with the style and ideas we already had in mind. It took an introduction and a couple of meetings before it was apparent that The Edge was a good fit for us.”

What changes have been made to the business so far?
We set out immediately to exploit some of the underutilized potential of the business; namely advertising, marketing and branding. We updated the Wi-Fi, equipment and kitchen workspace to meet industry standards. We’ve also added a wider variety of soups and baked goods, as well as specialty coffee drinks, artisan teas and fresher ingredients. Our plans are to remodel without stripping away the charm and character of the place and product.

What are a few favorite food and drink items offered at The Edge?
Brian: My favorite is the Hobbit, which is like a deluxe BLT with
avocado and pesto-mayo. My favorite drink is The Owl (a “Red Wolf” brew). It has hazelnut and chocolate Milano.
Sarah: My favorite is the Wild Turkey with our house-made tomato jam, and the ever-changing rotation of fresh soups. I also love our classic Americano espresso drink.

What sets The Edge Coffeehouse & Eatery apart from other coffee shops in the area?
We have so much charm and character that you cannot find anywhere else. We are a true coffee house with a feeling of warmth and coziness. Eclectic, local art hangs on the walls, and a revolving cast of students, faculty and neighbors help add to the campus culture and unique atmosphere that makes this place what it is. Oh, and we have a yard for outdoor activities, expanded dining during nice weather and a garden where we grow some of our own ingredients. From composting our waste into soil to growing our own mushrooms in spent espresso grounds, it allows us to be as sustainable as possible. It doesn’t get more local than that, and that is something we are very proud of.

What is the biggest perk about being a coffee shop that is located Next to the A-State campus?
Besides the prime location that gives us access to the 8,000 students enrolled at Arkansas State University, we love being a part of the culture and academic community. We look forward to working arm-in-arm with various departments on campus. We have had students within the business department help us with business strategies to promote success within the restaurant. We have the music department signed on to send students to play music. We also have a deal worked out with the college radio station to exchange services. In short, the people we collaborate with are the best thing about owning a campus eatery.

What is the atmosphere like at The Edge?
The Edge has a charming quaintness that makes it conducive for posting up in a quiet corner for hours with a cup of coffee and a book while light jazz plays over the speaker. The smell of roasted coffee beans and hot soups linger indelibly as people meet for business and pleasure. Our friendly staff has been trained to maintain a level of positivity that shows when we greet you when you enter or when we drop the food off at the table.

Recently, The Edge hosted several musical and artistic showcases. Is this something that will continue?
Once we get the renovations finished, we plan on filling up our calendar with music and art events, as well as many other functions involving community groups and campus organizations. This place has always been a platform for local musicians and artists to showcase their works, and with campus being so close, there is an unlimited amount of resources to tap into.

What is on the horizon for The Edge?
Moving forward, we hope to become even more integrated with campus and our community. We have invested in construction, branding, marketing and advertising that will help us achieve an exponential growth in sales. We really look forward to sponsorships and fundraising events that allow us to use our resources to give back and get involved.

The Edge Coffeehouse & Eatery is located at 1900 Aggie Road and is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, find The Edge Coffeehouse on Facebook or call at (870) 932-3114.