RESTAURANTS

Alisabeth Von Presley finding new focus at Stillwater Coffee in Hiawatha

The Caprese is made with mozzarella, tomato, spinach, pesto and drizzled with balsamic on Rustic Hearth sourdough bread
The Caprese is made with mozzarella, tomato, spinach, pesto and drizzled with balsamic on Rustic Hearth sourdough bread at Stillwater Coffee, 1275 N. Center Point Rd. Suite B, in Hiawatha. (Jim Slosiarek photos/The Gazette)
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HIAWATHA — If all the world’s a stage, Alisabeth Von Presley is finding her newest performance space at Stillwater Coffee Co. in Hiawatha.

The musician took over as manager of the cafe in August. Though she’d normally have spent much of the summer touring and on the road, the coronavirus pandemic upended all of that. Still, she said she’s leaning into this new chapter of her life.

“My long-term goal in life was to have a coffee shop that had themed days,” she said. “So it was there, it’s always been in my game plan, just maybe not this soon. I adore the family, I love the space, it felt right.”

Nick and Kim Morio opened the cafe next to Nick Morio’s dental practice, Dental Implant and Oral Surgery Specialists of Iowa.

“We wanted to find a way to give back to the community but also serve the whole patient — that includes family members and children. There’s nothing better than giving them a little love with a hot cup of coffee,” Kim Morio said.

In an area surrounded by businesses, Von Presley said they want Stillwater to feel like a destination, as a way to convince people to drive, perhaps a little out of their way, to visit.

“It just kind of sprouted into this live music venue, art venue, community space,” she said.

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The live music venue aspect is part of what Von Presley is focusing on. The coffee shop hosted a derecho relief benefit concert in September on the patio with the parking lot turned into a socially distanced seating area.

They hope to have more events like that, though Von Presley acknowledge it would get more tricky as the weather gets colder.

For now, they’re planning a Halloween concert at night with kid-friendly trick-or-treating and pumpkin decorating during the day.

In November, Von Presley plans to launch Stillwater Sessions, interviews and performances with local musicians that will be streamed on the coffee shop’s social media.

The coffee shop opened last September. It’s been a tumultuous first year. At the start of the pandemic, it offered online ordering and delivery to people’s cars, which still is available.

The coffee shop has indoor seating as well as a patio overlooking a small pond. It also had to close for a few days after the derecho, which didn’t cause major damage but did send rain water in under a door.

Stillwater’s signature drink is the 32 brew — and affogato with two shots of espresso served over Hansen’s Dairy vanilla ice cream, topped with Ghirardelli dark chocolate and a chocolate covered espresso bean. It also serves other coffee and espresso drinks, tea, smoothies, wine and beer.

“I love coffee, I’ve always been a coffee fan,” Von Presley said. “I had a nickname as Caffeine Queen for a while.”

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Along with coffee, the cafe serves food like sandwiches and baked goods, which are made fresh in-house.

“We’re super locally-driven,” Von Presley said, highlighting things like Allen’s Orchard apple cider and Rustic Hearth bread in sandwiches.

She hasn’t given up on her music career, however. She’s been working on a new album, “Pink Renegade.” She said the last six months has given her more time to write and focus.

“Normally, as a musician, you’re just going from one gig to another. You have this time during quarantine to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it,” she said. “It’s something I’ve never experienced before, just having time to sit. I think having time away from performing really helped me hone in on why I was performing in the first place ... Who am I without the performances? I feel so centered now and sure of who I want to be moving forward.”

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

If You Go

• What: Stillwater Coffee Co.

• Where: 1275 N. Center Point Rd., Suite B, Hiawatha

• Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

• Details: (319) 200-2739, stillwatercoffeeco.com

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