By Taylor Boyd
The former Honduras Coffee Shop on Main Street in Stuart is undergoing a makeover of sorts, with a new name, rebranding and new owners working to create an entirely different vibe.
The shop is scheduled to reopen later this month as the Hearth Fyre Café, according to Roxanne Dresden, who co-owns the business with her husband, Araris Dresden.
The two are renaming and rebranding the business to make it their own – and a place their customers will feel comfortable, Roxanne Dresden said.
She explained the new name comes from a desire to create a hearth space for people.
Araris Dresden “didn’t just want to sell coffee. He wanted to have a place for people to come and feel like they were at home away from home, and where they could feel included and have a respite from the chaos of life,” she said.
And that is precisely what the business will be to the Dresdens.
The two bought the shop to make good on their desire to create a home base, Roxanne Dresden said. She explained that she worked as a traveling performer who had been on the road fulltime since 2008. After the two met, Araris Dresden spent a short stint working as her drummer.
But “it became increasingly evident that he didn’t want to be a drummer because he just wasn’t really into it, even though he does a good job,” she said, adding that she encouraged her husband to create and man a portable coffee house at the festivals where she performed.
“He used to be a barista,” she said, of a person who prepares and serves different kinds of coffee and may be called a ‘coffee artist.’ Araris Dresden also “was a bartender, and he was really into doing mixology. He was really good at it and really enjoys it,” his wife said.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Araris Dresden sent his wife a listing for the shop in Stuart. While she wanted to purchase the coffee shop, Dresden said she worried that their lifestyle would be an impediment since it was all cash-based.
“We had no credit, we had owned nothing, had never rented anywhere, and never owned a house. I bought my vehicle with cash, and the trailer we were living in was a wedding gift from my parents,” she said.
But, after going through a lengthy process to determine whether they could manage a ‘mundane life,’ she said purchasing the property became a reality.
There are plans to change the shop into a Celtic themed café, coffee house, and pub that is open seven days a week, starting in March, according to Roxanne Dresden. Currently, the two are awaiting the completion of some equipment inspections.
“Some of the equipment had some outdated inspections. So, after talking to the health department, we had to shut down until we get an inspector in there to make sure everything’s in shipshape,” she said.
While waiting, the couple are deep cleaning, repainting, and renovating the restaurant, and overhauling the menu.
“We’re still going to have breakfast sandwiches. We’re going to have bagels and pastries, and we’re trying to source higher end stuff for that,” she said, adding she has also been working on developing recipes.
When it reopens, the eatery will be open for breakfast and lunch, with the same sandwich items, pastries, and coffee. “But we’re doing fancy coffee. My husband used to be a professional barista, so he’s very into doing what people would consider fancy coffee,” she said.
The lunch menu will include paninis, soups, salads, bread bowls, and scotched eggs. Breakfast specials will be available on weekends, and will include foods like waffles, pancakes, and waffles.
The Dresdens also are in the process of applying for a liquor license. In addition to serving beer and wine, they plan to serve fancy adult coffee drinks, or ‘the works.’
“We don’t want to be a full bar where people just sit at the bar, but we do want to have a pub feel, and we’ll have pub food,” she said.
The evening menu will continue to offer soups and salads, with additions that include fish and chips, Irish Nachos, hand pies, and other pub foods.
By mid-March, Dresden said she hopes to start booking talent to feature live music every week.
“My ultimate goal is to have music or performances every Friday and Saturday night. I also want to see if there’s enough interest from the local musicians to run an Irish session on Sundays, because on Sundays, we would open for brunch,” she said.
Dresden added that she wants to host some book clubs or writing groups, depending on community interest. In the future, she also intends to visit festivals with a mobile version of the shop.
The biggest challenge she anticipates will be from the fact that neither she nor her husband have ever operated a restaurant or a brick-and-mortar business before.
“We’ve having to figure out how to hoop jump the requirements for everything, because there are different requirements. I’ve been giving myself a crash course on how to do this in the last month and a half,” she said.
Dresden hopes to be open for breakfast and lunch by next week providing the inspections are completed, and open in the evenings by the beginning of March, depending on the timing of the liquor license.