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New café opens in transit center

Iron Town Coffee Lab offers fresh ground coffee, breakfast, lunch

Ironton’s latest restaurant opened for business on Monday morning.

Called the Iron Town Coffee Lab, it is a labor of love for Richard Fisher.

After retiring, he was looking for something to do, so he thought he would bring his passion for coffee to a restaurant setting.

“I’m retired now,” he said. “I lived my life doing what I had to do, so now I’m doing what I want to do.”

He said there was nothing good about just sitting around the house, so he wanted to do something where he could have fun and interact with the public. So he started Iron Town Coffee Lab in the transit building on the corner of Second and Vernon streets.

He said he opened Coffee Lab because of childhood memories of his dad sitting on the front porch, drinking a cup of coffee, as the kids got ready for school.

Fisher said he loves the effects of coffee and, after the first time he had good coffee made with Arabica beans, he was hooked and started experimenting with roasting and grinding his own beans.

“I started investigating and it sort of took over my life,” he said, with a laugh. “A good coffee is Arabica beans, properly roasted to extract all of the 800 coffee oils.”

He said he’s burned up about a half dozen home roasters while experimenting. His plan for the café is to get a proper roaster. “So, we will become a coffee roaster and a full-service café,” he said.

He gets his unroasted beans from a woman in Pittsburgh who taught him how to properly grind beans for the best cup of coffee.

The Iron Town Coffee Lab serves breakfast from 8-10 a.m. and lunch from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday. He said he is already thinking about expanding his offerings since he has a great recipe for goetta and Pad Thai.

For those looking for pastries to go with their morning coffee, Black Bear Bakery is also set up in the restaurant.

Fisher said that the name came from his son-in-law, Allen Perry, a science teacher at Ironton Junior High School. That’s why he was wearing a T-shirt that had the café logo as “Fe Town Coffee Lab.”

He said the start of business on Monday was “the perfect size” with people coming in and ordering breakfast or coffee, but not a long line of people.

“You don’t want people just standing there waiting to get served,” he said. “It’s been a really good start so far.”