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Need a coffee break during a trip on Highway 65? Two locations of the Rock-N-Java coffee shop await your orders, thanks to Leslie residents Shawn Henderson and wife Adrianna Morrisette. After purchasing the former Rainbow Rock Shop and its gift shop inventory, they opened in 2012 as the Rock-N-Java. “We’re the only coffee shop on Highway 65 between a Starbucks in Conway and a Starbucks in Hollister, Missouri,” Shawn said as he explained their decision to open as a café. There they serve coffee roasted locally at RoZark Hills Coffee Roasterie in Rose Bud to meet the area’s need for a daily dose of caffeine or seasonal beverages; they opened their second location in Clinton in 2014.
The Rock-n-Java didn’t stop at offering lattes, smoothies and pastries. Within two months of the Marshall location’s opening, a variety of lunchtime meals were available. Beginning with quiche and soup, the menu has since expanded to include almost 30 different specials: Chinese food, chicken and fish tacos, salads and paninis, spaghetti and meat sauce and more. Customers know what to expect for lunch by checking the Rock-N-Java’s Facebook page, which broadcasts the daily specials. Shawn explained that the reason for their curiously diverse menu is that they wanted to provide food that is otherwise unavailable to the area, and added that the food is generally wholesome and not fried (apart from bacon in quiche).
In addition to food and coffee, the Rock-N-Java is maintained as a gift shop with rotating inventory, such as quartz crystal, jewelry, figurines and Morrisette Pottery made by Adrianna in her studio in Leslie. Her pottery, including coffee mugs, is found also in Searcy’s Midnight Oil and RoZark Hills Coffee Roasterie. The merchandise decorates the shop, competing for attention at the Marshall location with an enormous pothos plant that has grown to cover the ceiling of the seating area. While Shawn works between the two shops, 30 miles apart from each other, to ensure their success, Adrianna works in her studio creating items to sell. Each year she attends as many as 12 art shows. Her pottery is not her only contribution to the enterprise, however; Shawn credits her as a fantastic cook who inspires some of the menu, particularly the Chinese food.
What stands out about the Rock-N-Java at Marshall, along with its good coffee, quirky and tasty food and interesting gifts, is its beautiful location. The coffee shop overlooks a valley, of which I was so eager to take a photo that I performed the comedic gaffe of pouring out my coffee in front of me accidentally as I twisted my wrist to aim a shot. You don’t have to spill your coffee trying to enjoy the view, however—next to the Rock-N-Java are several pavilions that line the road for travelers to sit and relax in contemplation of the beautiful Ozarks vista. The Clinton shop, located in town between other storefronts, offers a similar dose of nature: a park sits across the street and the Archey Fork River Trail is in its backyard.
Both Rock-N-Java shops are open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, and until 6 p.m. during daylight saving time. In the future, look for the Marshall location to sport a drive-thru to facilitate easier commerce and to begin growing some of its own produce on-site. This past Valentine’s Day marked four years that the Marshall Rock-N-Java has been supplying weary travelers with convenient coffee and locals with lunchtime variety; stop by soon to try their food and beverages or pick up a unique gift.
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