Coffee the Old-Fashioned Way
Looking for that coffee shop that feels like your friend’s living room? Then the Engles family invites you to visit their second home at the Last Drop Coffee Shop. Stan and Fiona Engle, along with their grown daughter, Elizabeth, opened Last Drop five years ago in a 1952 Howard Johnson Restaurant that sat empty for 30 years.
Now, it has a cozy, eclectic feeling, decorated with personal items, travel souvenirs, and photographs from the Engles’ lives, which prompts curiosity and conversation. “I have pictures of people I’ve met during my worldwide travels, like Margaret Thatcher,” Stan said.
Coffee the Old-Fashioned Way
If the family atmosphere isn’t welcoming enough, Last Drop is known for one more unique ideal: no prices. “We don’t have a set price list, and that usually shocks people,” Stan said. “People can pay what they choose for the coffee, tea or pastries.”
In the Engles’ experience, many customers pay what they might pay for coffee elsewhere or give a little extra to support the shop. “And someone having financial issues can get a decent cup of espresso for less,” Fiona added.
“It’s not a chain coffee shop,” Stan said. “For hundreds of years, coffee shops were family-run businesses where people would gather to meet, network and share their lives. People got to know their neighbors, discuss their faith, or chat with the local politicians.“
It might seem like an old-fashioned idea, replaced by drive-thru drink options on the way to work, but the Engles have seen the evidence of their successful concept. Their location, a few miles north of the State Capitol Complex on Route 66, is convenient to people traveling from Edmond to work.
“It’s the only coffee shop along Lincoln. Once people discover us, it’s not uncommon for Last Drop to become a gathering place,” Stan said. “We’ve hosted writers groups, ladies Bible classes, employee meetings, homeschool parents, play groups, soccer families, piano and guitar recitals, medical students, Supreme Court judges, and, of course, travelers.”
“We’re told there’s a peaceful vibe here,” Fiona said. “I’d like to see more women’s groups come to knit or crochet, or mother’s groups. We have a child-friendly play area, too. We just want the space to be used!”
Owning a coffee shop isn’t new to the Engles. For 20 years, they ran Life House in downtown Oklahoma City, located in the original Cain’s Coffee Factory. Now, they are pleased to be closer to their house, serving fresh-daily, organic coffee provided by Leap Coffee Roasters in Oklahoma City.
Brewing Up Good Music
Music is another integral aspect of Last Drop. The Engles do not hire musicians, they rely on the talent of their own family. Stan has played and recorded his trumpet music around the world, but the whole family is musical.
“We have many instruments around at Last Drop–which people are welcome to play,” Fiona said. “Kids can play the drums, shake maracas, or play the piano. We aren’t afraid of noise, which might be discouraged in other places. The customers often play impromptu concerts.”
On Thursday nights, the Engles host jam sessions, open to everyone, as a time to hear or play traditional favorites. And don’t be surprised if Stan shares a few tales from his traveling days.
“Have you heard about the time Margaret Thatcher invited me to dance? No? Well, to hear that story, come by the coffee shop,” Stan invited.
To learn more go to: www.thelastdropok.com