Fretboard Coffee Dave Elman

Dave Elman is the owner and roaster at Fretboard Coffee.

Get ready to “rock and roast” with Dave Elman, owner and roaster at Fretboard Coffee, which operates both a brick-and-mortar café and coffee truck in Columbia, Missouri. A roaster as well as a musician, Elman’s love for creating perfect notes comes through in his music as well as in his coffee. His interest in learning the subtleties in coffee flavors comes from tasting cups made by local roasters in various cities around the country, which taught him to refine his palate. Soon, his appreciation grew into a business. But when Elman isn’t sipping on coffee in his own shop, he enjoys food and drinks at a variety of other restaurants in town. Here, he spills his favorites.

Imagine you have one entire day to dedicate to dining out in Columbia: Where would you grab breakfast, lunch and dinner, and what would you be ordering at each spot? Breakfast, Cafe Berlin without a doubt! I love their dish called the Starving Artist. The Blue Pig is my other favorite. Lunch, I'd go to 44 Canteen and have some excellent craft beer with their steak tacos and Disco Fries – amazing! Dinner, I would have to go to Barred Owl [Butcher & Table]. I'd start with the charcuterie board and a signature cocktail. For a main dish, I love their Spaetzle.

Who or what do you believe is a hidden gem in the Columbia food scene? Good Food Co. is a wonderful little bakery that uses all fresh, excellent ingredients. Jill Rostine is an excellent baker and a wonderful person.

What's your favorite drink, and where in Columbia are you ordering it? I'm partial to the Dirty Martini at Sycamore.

Where do you go for late-night eats and/or a nightcap? Billiards on Broadway is always good for a late-night beer and burger.

What's currently your favorite meal at a local restaurant? The 44 Stone Burger at 44 Stone still stands out to me as one of the best meals around.

Who in the local restaurant scene inspires you? Josh Smith from the Barred Owl is an inspiration. He uses the full animal and sources local produce, meats, etc. and utilizes a rotating seasonal menu depending on what the farmers are producing. He is also an absolutely amazing chef while being very likable and humble.

What's your go-to specialty market, grocer or farmers' market – and what are you buying there? The Columbia Farmers Market. I buy just about all of my weekly veggies there, our eggs and some of our meats as well.

Fretboard Coffee, 1013 E. Walnut St., Columbia, Missouri, 573.227.2233,

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