It won’t be too long before patrons of Monk’s Rock will be able to enjoy their cappuccino and pastries in the haven of the coffee shop, which has been closed due to church holidays, reorganization of merchandise and the usual annual staff winter break.
“We’re taking a break … as we’ve been doing for the past 10 years,” said Herman Hall, manager of the coffee shop.
According to plans, Monk’s Rock will reopen on Monday, Jan. 25.
The people of Kodiak look forward to drinking coffee, dining and socializing at the popular coffee shop, and the staff is just as excited to return to normal, said Hall.
“We’re happy to come back and serve the town again,” he said. “We’re excited to resume our normal operations with other inspiring things.”
Monk’s Rock was opened in 1997 by a group of Orthodox monks from Platina, California. Shortly after the coffee shop opened, operations transitioned to members of St. John the Wonderworker Mission, formerly known as St. Innocent’s Academy.
“The community has transitioned from being a school to more of a collection of young adults and families,” noted Hall.
Monk’s Rock is more than a coffee house. It includes an Orthodox Christian bookstore, gift shop, bread and doughnut bakery, and coffee roastery, as well as a toy store, which is aptly called the Treehouse.
“It’s a new retail feature,” said Hall.
“The town received it well. Our focus is on classic toys,” many of which are made of wood. “Our hope and intent is to get toys that are distinctly formed for education … formed to prompt creativity and prompt the child to work with that toy,” which means they are interactive, said Hall.
He and his wife Antonia have introduced the toys to their three children.
“We get to practice using the toys in our house,” he said, adding that Monk’s Rock hopes to bring “more crafted unique toys to our merchandise, and to introduce handmade items.”
Those toys could possibly be crafted by members of St. John’s Mission, who are involved with Monk’s Rock.
“There’s a lot of talent from the staff at Monk’s Rock,” said Hall. “Whenever an opportunity of creativity … opens up … you can guarantee that a small group or a larger group will run through that door.”
Perhaps the most available medium that allows Monk’s Rock staff to show their creativity is music.
“Music is such a consolation for people,” said Hall.
“That’s one of our great joys: to bring music to our dining experience. Even in a really busy stretch of the day, if a song is requested, we’re all eager to drop our work and provide that music.”
Hall and his crew at Monk’s Rock have found other ways to bring cheer to the people who come to the coffee shop: doughnuts filled with vitamin H, which infuses eaters with happiness, said Hall.
This special feature of Monk’s Rock was a response to the grim lockdowns caused by the coronavirus. Baker Nicholas Fortuin and his crew provide doughnuts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 6:00 a.m., and Fridays and Saturdays starting at 8:30 a.m. during normal breakfast hours.
Another new feature is Monk’s Monday specials. On that day, lunch is available at 11 a.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
“We offer a limited but delicious menu,” which includes locally caught fish and chips, Italian-style roast beef sandwiches and a creamy Irish pub soup, said Hall.
Being a part of the Monk’s Rock crew has been gratifying for Hall.
“It’s unusual to have a workplace where you can focus on serving your neighbor,” he said, noting that the modus operandi of Monk’s Rock is “hospitality and a warm environment.
“That mission … helps to orient or reorient one’s intention and one’s heart toward doing good for others,” he said. “Monk’s Rock is happy to be serving Kodiak. We’re really inspired by the simple new things we’re offering.”
Other new offerings include an online ordering platform at monksrock.com, and a food and drink punch card, Hall said.