Enter from the side and find yourself in a long, open space full of light and coffee-scented air. The bar is a complex, multi-level structure covered in curving walnut slats salvaged from the ice storm of 2007 and a tornado in Arkansas. Undulating, fascinating, it recalls a sand dune from the coast of Oregon.
Carefully sourced pastries, chocolates, and coffees cluster on the white counter-top, while a gleaming espresso machine rules supreme. Joy Division on the record player, a smiling barista on bar: Welcome to one of Springfield’s premier cafés.
Owner Tom Billionis makes no secret of his purpose—his ethic—in coffee. “I want to create an open atmosphere for all kinds of people—a respite or a touchpoint for people from many cultures in the nation who live in and visit Springfield,” he says.
This purpose is reflected in every aspect of the business, from welcoming the varied customer base—hipsters mingle with business people, students, and parents—to participating with PT’s Coffee in their Direct Trade program, which offers farmers a minimum of 25 percent above Fair Trade prices for excellent coffee lots.
Tom also pointed out that, though The Ethic is an outstanding place to visit, it is only a part of the wonderful re-imagining of the Springfield Square. Once a largely deserted city area, the Square is now again what it once was: the Heart of Springfield. Thriving businesses, community events, and a library line the circular streets.
If you are planning a trip anywhere in Southwest Missouri, consider stopping to visit the folks at The Coffee Ethic. You’ll find excellent coffee and great service, and you’ll get to experience a vital part of Missouri’s burgeoning coffee and sustainable-business cultures.
Submitted for the VisitMOBistro by freelance writer Emily McIntyre.