Aug 14, 2023 - Food and Drink

Chocolate factory bound for downtown Springdale

The future site of Onyx's next project. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Emma Avenue in downtown Springdale will be home to a chocolate factory as early as next summer.

What's happening: Onyx Coffee Lab will occupy three floors totalling more than 6,400-square feet inside the former First Security Bank complex.

  • Fun fact: Onyx has its own brand of chocolate, Terroir. You'll see chocolate bars in its café and chocolate syrup topping some of its beverages — all made in NWA. The chocolate-manufacturing segment of its business will move from Rogers to the new spot in Springdale.

What they're saying: "We're putting more energy, money and design time into this concept than anything we've ever done by far," Onyx co-owner Jon Allen told Axios.

Context: Onyx started with its first coffee shop in Springdale in 2012. It's now a multimillion dollar business that wins international competitions, sells its wholesale products in 400-500 cafés around the country (you can even buy Onyx coffee beans on Amazon) and has four NWA locations, as well as a restaurant concept, Hail Fellow Well Met, in Johnson.

Yes, but: Onyx no longer has cafés in Springdale. And that really bothers its owners, who are from Springdale and live there now.

  • "We're hoping that people that have not come to downtown Springdale will start to visit," Allen said.
  • Growing up in what was known as a blue-collar town, Allen was aware of the perceptions that the city didn't have nice things.
  • "It's important to have, in our opinion, a quality-first hospitality concept in Springdale," he said.

Details: The main floor of the building will include an Onyx café with its usual coffee menu, as well as full breakfast and lunch menus, with seating for 100 inside and another 100 outside. It'll also offer a walk-up window where people can order a coffee or pastry to go.

  • The top floor will include a tasting room, community rooms available to reserve for events for free, and overflow seating.
  • The chocolate manufacturing will be housed in the basement, and customers will be able to see the full process and even take tours and classes. It'll be a speakeasy-type dessert and wine bar.

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