Santa Fe is a coffee town – hot in the winter, iced in the summer. We meet new friends and gather with old ones over a cup of jet fuel. With more than 20 mostly independent coffee shops in town, some roast their own beans while others procure coffee from their favorite source. And each one has its own distinctive personality. There are drive-thrus, walk-up windows, sit-down spaces and outdoor seating.
Whether you need a cup of locally roasted coffee, creamy matcha latte, baked good, a snack or meal, Iconik Coffee Roasters has you covered. Established in 2013, Iconik is, well, an iconic coffee shop with two convenient locations – one in midtown and the other downtown – both with full kitchens and different menus, a bustling wholesale business and a variety of brewing accessories for those who want exceptional java at home.
Iconik is a place where solopreneurs, students and creatives gather with laptops to work in a communal space with high-speed Wi-Fi, lit with caffeine and fueled with good food. It’s where ladies who yoga (or lunch) gather for a cup of tea and a healthy meal. It’s where business folks gather to talk shop over a cuppa and where retired people go for a cup of Joe and a shot of socialization. It’s where people gather indoors and on spacious patios to sip and snack in a relaxing environment.
Though I frequent both locations for late morning meetings after I have had breakfast at home, I have long admired the culinary offerings that always made me wish I arrived hungry. Recently, I stopped in to the Lena location on a blue sky Saturday for a quick lunch with a friend and, enjoyed it so much, I returned on Sunday for breakfast.
Situated in a mixed-use development in an industrial and residential wooded area, this Iconik location magically blends into the natural settings as if it’s meant to be there. The interior is arranged with eclectic furnishings and assorted seating arrangements – from Adirondack chairs and teak tables outside to a big couch, two top tables and a community table inside.
As you enter, you may instinctively move your body when you hear the bumping music that plays in the background. Let yourself feel the groove, because this is the kind of place where you can be you. As you wait in line for a few minutes, bop to the beat and look around. Though the space exudes a fresh, techno vibe, the still-functioning 1927 Otto Swadlo coffee roaster reminds you this is a coffee shop.
Happy employees buzz behind the counter and are eager to assist. Served until noon, breakfast is a global array of dishes including an Omelette ($9.50), Breakfast Tacos ($9), Breakfast Bowl ($10) and three house specialties – Shakshuka, Eggs Benedict and 2 Organic Eggs Guatemalan Style ($8.50). Generous portions, the tasty sauces make for a delightful change from typical Santa Fe breakfasts.
Vegetarians will dig the Shakshuka ($10), Moroccan-spiced tomato sauce and a hint of cumin along with sautéed red peppers and kale. Topped with two poached eggs, a dose of crumbled feta adds a salty note and the thick toasted bread is to soak up the sauce.
My dining companion ordered Eggs Benedict ($12) and he was beyond happy. An English muffin is topped with crisp bacon, poached eggs and red chile hollandaise with a side of roasted tomato coulis. A bit spicy, the bright orange hollandaise made this dish a stand-out among the competition.
The lunch menu is dotted with more healthy dishes, many with an Asian-twist including Ponzu Salmon ($13), Delicious Asian Noodle Salad ($11), Chicken Curry Salad ($8.50) and Galbi Korean Steak ($13), as well as the requisite Red Chile Burger ($11) and Hoffman Hot Dog ($6). Over the years, the menu has evolved and features a “sampling of dishes inspired by our travels to find coffee in different parts of the world,” says Sean Ham, operational owner.
The menu also boasts a Grilled Cheese with savory or sweet fillings ($9.50), The Greek Salad ($9.50) and a BLTA ($11). If you only need a snack to tide you over, choose from appetizers like Bun Chay Sliders ($10), Street Tacos ($9) and Mac and Cheese ($8).
Being that I have experienced food envy when walking by someone eating the Salmon Ponzu, my dining companion and I ordered that and the Savory Grilled Cheese to share. Surrounded by trees and hanging baskets of blooming flowers, we captured a prime spot on the main covered patio. The natural surroundings provide protection from the sun and noise from passersby on foot, bikes and cars. Indoors and outdoors, nearly every table is filled.
Warm temperatures beg for an iced tea, and though I ordered the Apricot Brandy, I received the Lavender Mint ($3.50) and it was minty and refreshing. We sipped our drinks and caught up on life while the kitchen prepared the food to order. Within 15-20 minutes, our two plates arrived and we were both intoxicatingly enamored. Now it was other people’s turn to have food envy.
Served on a sizzling skillet, a good sized chunk of salmon is perched on top of steamed rice doused with ponzu sauce and sprinkled with black sesame seeds and surrounded by a medley of perfectly cooked vegetables, including stir-fried cauliflower, red peppers and broccoli.
The Savory Grilled Cheese is layered with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese with a nice acidic kick of Dijon mustard. The rye bread is lubricated with melted butter so the exterior is both moist and crisp, while the melted interior is savory deliciousness. The accompanying mixed greens include sliced cucumbers, cherry tomato halves, grated jicama and a tasty miso dressing which works to offset the heaviness of the melted cheese.
Balanced and colorful meals, every bite surprised me as I sat in this coffee shop that pays as much attention to the food as it does the house roasted coffee. There are times when we want to have a meeting with a cup of coffee and a meal, and it’s comforting to know Iconik offers both in a casual setting.
Made in-house, the pastry case is filled with gluten-free delights. We sampled the Magic Vegan Coconut Bar ($4.50) which is a healthier version of a seven-layer bar and the Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie ($1.00). We should have ordered coffee to savor with these sweet treats, but we didn’t. The truth is you don’t have to have coffee when you come to Iconik. You can come just for the food.