By David Stoltz
Craving that latte, cappuccino or caramel macchiato? Or maybe lunch -- a chicken salad croissant?
Check out Steamy Joe Café in historic downtown Branson!
Randy and Ruth Ryel opened Steamy Joe Café at 224 West Main Street in the old Ruby Lena’s Tea Room location earlier this spring.
This is the Ryels’ second “Steamy Joe.” They opened their first Steamy Joe in Arkansas City, KS in 2015; their staff continues to run that location.
But the Ryels, who have enjoyed bringing their children and grandchildren to Branson for years, decided this would be a good location for their newest restaurant.
Steamy Joe means, simply, “hot coffee,” and coffee is a specialty along with a diverse breakfast and lunch menu.
“We wanted to do specialty coffees and smoothies, bake all of our items for the pastry case – muffins, brownies, cookies, cinnamon rolls, pies, cakes, scones, a number of different things that we do,” Ryel said.
Steamy Joe Café offers an American-style breakfast and a deli-style lunch. Daily lunch specials are posted on Facebook, as is the drink of the week.
So how did a retired AT&T employee venture into the restaurant business? “When I looked to retire my wife had always wanted to own a bakery,” Ryel explained. “I tell everybody, kind of teased around, ‘My wife would make these amazing cinnamon rolls for very special occasions, and they were a lot of work. She didn’t make them any old time. If I’m going to put together a restaurant you’ve got to have cinnamon rolls any time I want.’”
“It keeps me out of trouble, keeps me off the couch, and gives me something to do,” Ryel said. “I really love being here in Branson, getting to see people and hear their stories, and just meet some interesting people.”
The restaurant seats 55 with seating on the front porch as well. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sunday). Breakfast is served until 10:30, except Saturdays when it’s served all day.
“We really have quite a large menu for a coffee shop and café,” Ryel said. “We do a number of different salads – chef salad, a lot of specialty salads. We do salad wraps, several different panini, grilled sandwiches, as well as classic sandwiches like the BLT, club.”
Homemade biscuits and gravy is a popular breakfast choice, but the biggest seller is Tuesday’s special --the chicken salad croissant. The coffee, which sells “very, very well,” comes from PT’s Coffee of Topeka, KS.
Ryel began remodeling the building in January and then opened in March, but the coronavirus pandemic created its own set of challenges, and then Ryels returned to Arkansas City to temporarily help there while their new staff continued here.
Sometimes Ruth’s sister, Susan Heimbach, plays the keyboard in the main dining area, singing patriotic songs or celebrating birthdays, and Ruth may join in. “It’s kind of a nice addition for Branson to have live music from time to time,”Ryel said. “They have great voices so they can sing.”
Now that Branson has reopened, watch for Steamy Joe Café’s grand opening in the coming weeks.
Catch up on the specials and the latest news from Steamy Joe Café on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SteamyJoeBranson/.