I love the firsts that seek me out, rather than the other way around. These experiences amaze me and also teach me about how life unfolds and about following the path. When cool rainy weather postponed my planned first, I decided, at almost 3:00, to eat a late lunch, and since I was eating anyway, to find a restaurant I hadn’t eaten at yet. Greg was with me and had not eaten lunch yet either. We headed downtown to try out a fairly new pizza place.
Except the pizza establishment was closed, in spite of posted hours saying it should be open. What to do? We were still hungry, even more so! Next door was the corner café, Cooper’s 66 Eatery & Coffee. Thinking it was about to close, we almost walked back to the car. Thankfully, the cook happened to be standing outside and informed us the café was open. In through the door we went. I’m so glad we did!
The owner, Fran, greeted us warmly as we seated ourselves at a high top table near the large front windows. Looking around, I fell in love with Cooper’s 66 Eatery & Coffee before a menu was placed in my hands. With an exposed brick wall and high ceilings capped with tin, the interior was charming, with many interesting items and pieces of art to check out. As Fran handed us menus and took our drink order, she asked if this was our first time in, which allowed me to share about my year of firsts. When I told her I’d be writing a blog about Cooper’s and would share it on her Facebook wall, she graciously told me about her café.
Cooper’s 66 Eatery & Coffee is located at 122 S. Main Street, Joplin, and is open Mon – Fri 11:00 – 7:00 and Sat 11:30 – 3:00. Named after her maternal grandmother, Cooper’s offers a wonderful assortment of salads, sandwiches, deep pan and personal flat bread pizzas, and homemade pies and cheesecake. Fran grew up in this area, and after being away working for a major retail company for 37 years, has returned home. Cooper’s has been open for almost two years. Fran uses fresh, high quality ingredients and relies on family recipes to create such delights as chicken salad and peanut butter pie.
Greg and I both ordered the 7” personal flat bread pizzas. In the spirit of trying new things, I had a “Bugs on the Windshield” pizza, featuring chunks of all white meat chicken, bacon, cheese and alfredo sauce. Slightly off my diet, but oh so good! The freshly brewed unsweetened tea was delicious as well. Fran kept our glasses full and was delightful to visit with each time she passed by to check on us. We sampled the peanut butter pie and found it wonderful…not too sweet and topped with chopped peanuts.
One of the things I’ve loved the most about this year of firsts is meeting new people and learning a bit of their stories and hearing about their dreams. I learned that Fran takes part in Downtown Joplin’s Third Thursday each month, exhibiting a different artist’s work on her brick wall, and hosting an evening of live music. She also sponsors concerts for a cause, such as for the arts and autism, grilling burgers in the large parking lot out back while bands perform on an outdoor stage.
We had a very special lunch at Cooper’s 66 Eatery & Coffee. I am extremely grateful that events led me through that door today, as surely as if I’d followed a trail of bread crumbs. Fran was friendly and offered amazing service, the food was delicious and the atmosphere casual and fun. While there, Greg gifted me with one of the beautiful pieces of artwork displayed on the wall. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Cooper’s, and sampling Fran’s famous chicken salad!