JEROME – The Flatiron Café, one of the most recognizable landmarks in town, has changed hands. Tom and Melinda Cook are the very proud new owners. They took over Oct. 16.
“Brian Sullivan and Alan Johnson had operated the Flatiron for 16 years,” Tom said. “We had been regular customers for the last six years.”
Tom went to Prescott College in the early 1970s. Since then, he and Melinda have made many trips to visit Jerome. “On one visit, my wife and I had the idea to look at a home here,” Tom said. “We found a lovely home. And it changed our lives.”
The couple struggled to buy the home, which they visited as often as possible, with the intention of making Jerome their fulltime home. “This past July,” Tom said, “we made it.”
Melinda’s career was in real estate, and Tom spent 30 years in the hotel business, always in food and beverage.
“We operate the café and a flat directly above it, which is available for rental on a B&B basis,” Tom said. The Flatiron specializes in coffee and espresso drinks, and it has a well-known menu for breakfast and lunch with soup specialties.
The café is small but cozy, offering table and counter seating inside the Flatiron and patio seating, with table service, across the street.
Tom said they have four employees. Alice Ross and Shea Blair are “baristas extraordinaire.” Rob Isaly is the head cook, and Chad Hembrough fills in when Rob is off.
Because the Flatiron has no exhaust hood in its kitchen, the café has no deep fryers or large equipment. Storage and refrigeration is limited. But those limitations are actually benefits for Flatiron customers.
Tom said he shops daily, and food is prepared in small, fresh quantities each day. Everything is homemade and nothing is frozen.
“We are a tiny little space in the magical, historical Flatiron shaped building,” Tom said. “Growth for us will come in the areas of expediting the service pace, maximizing service across the street on the patio and promoting our one, cool and lovely, room.”
Tom said he and Melinda are becoming more familiar with the Verde Valley every day, and they now know Jerome much better. “We love it here,” he said, “and Jerome is very alive and bustling, both in spirit and tourism.”
The Flatiron Café is located at 416 Main St. in Jerome. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week, and the cafe is closed on Tuesdays. The café is open during Jerome’s First Saturday Art Walks.
“We are looking at the possibility of being open for a ‘Prix Fix’ Dinner on one night per weekend,” Tom said. But that is yet to come.
Call (928) 634-2733.