The Press Coffee & Juice Bar specializes in the unexpected. The fast-casual Springfield, Missouri, eatery boasts menus of Korean-Mexican fusion dishes alongside coffee, tea, juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls for breakfast and lunch.
In 2017, after running South Korean franchise Caffe Bene in Farmers Park for three years, Alice Oh opened The Press in its place. The opportunity to create her own identity in the restaurant industry drove Oh to focus on healthful foods, and since moving to the Brentwood Shopping Center in October 2019, she has been able to expand her selection while maintaining her passion for natural ingredients.
What makes The Press stand out? We’re known for coffee, tea, juices and smoothies, and when [people] come in, they’re surprised that we [also] have full breakfast and lunch menus. We crafted our menus to inspire better daily lifestyle choices, [which makes us] unique from other coffee shops and cafés, and we accommodate those who have food sensitivities [with] gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, keto, vegetarian and vegan [items]. I didn’t follow the rules of what a coffee shop should be; I like to make my own identity in the restaurant industry. I feel like when you actually know what your identity is and what you have a passion for, you just go with it.
What inspired the Korean-Mexican fusion dishes on the menus? An improvised lunch became the menu. One day, my husband wanted Korean food; I wanted Mexican food. We were busy, so I took rice, I put bulgogi in with kimchi and I wrapped it up in a tortilla. When we took that first bite, I realized I could make [that] a full menu. [The whole menu has] a healthy inspiration. The Nourish Bowl, [for example], is basically bibimbap, but I made it a little bit healthier – I made it how I would eat it.
In what ways are you focusing on whole foods? Understanding what Mother Nature brings to the table is key. We use sustainable ingredients and avoid preservatives, GMOs, hydrogenated fats and excessive sugar. We believe in real food experiences that inspire healthy lifestyles – it’s the small, fundamental changes in everyday choices that have the biggest impact on our future health. The other thing we want to promote is community, so we try to buy local as much as possible. Our coffee is local, our milk is local, and instead of sugar, we use local raw honey.
What are your plans for the coming months? We’re getting ready to update our menu, and we are probably going to do a happy hour. It’s going to be really unique, and the menu will [feature] dishes that you can’t find [elsewhere]. That’s what I want: to make food that you can’t find anywhere but The Press.
The Press Coffee & Juice Bar, 2710 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, Missouri, 417.771.5950, facebook.com/417thepress