Old books, new atmosphere

Visitors to Broadway Street in Siloam Springs may or may not notice the most recent changes – and that is part of the plan.

Café on Broadway opened a new dining area next door to its original location Tuesday, in the store previously called Books on Broadway. The extra space includes a commercial-grade kitchen to increase room for cooking and baking. While the Café placed additional tables in the front of the old bookstore, many of the bookshelves and books along the side remain in place.

The Café’s owners, Rick and Carolyn Robinson, called the new section “Café on Broadway & Books” to provide both cohesiveness and differentiation between the two parts. From the street, the only visible difference is the change of logo over the old Books on Broadway and the expansion of the Café’s outdoor tables.

Inside, a new doorway and window provide passage for people and orders between the two parts of the Café. Carolyn said plans are still being made for other changes.

The next probable step is to begin operating a second cash register in the addition during times of heavy traffic, particularly the lunch hour. Eventually, they are also considering increasing their menu options for dinner.

The building and books still belong to Trish Houston, the owner of the previous Books on Broadway. Café staff will sell the books for Trish, and Trish will continue ordering books requested by customers.

Andrew Nycum, day manager of the Café, said the new arrangement benefits both parties.

“The Café gets more space, and Siloam Springs gets to keep a living and active bookstore,” he said. “It would have been a horrible loss for the city to not have that.”

The new kitchen, mainly built by Rick, provides a significant improvement compared to the crowded kitchen in the original section. Along with the additional space, the Café upgraded to larger ovens, mixing bowls and other kitchen appliances.

The Café added eight tables and 40 chairs in the new area, including a couple eight- and six-person tables. Rick said this doubles the size of the Café, which can now accommodate larger groups or meetings.

Lauren Tremonti, a sophomore at John Brown University, agreed that the Café needed more space. She said the addition might make students more inclined to go to the Café, “if they advertise it right.”

Nycum said the goal is not to change either Books on Broadway nor the Café substantially.

“We are molding how they look together,” he said. “Things are a lot the same, but in a new way.”