Nestled just west of the tracks at Main and 5th Street in Grandview, Last Exit Coffee opened its doors last month as a sleek retro-biker nook between Holloway’s Motorcycle Service and Lueck’s Barbecue.
A now-realized dream of Seattle transplant John Holloway, Last Exit Coffee had “been in the works since last year.” The idea came about as Holloway, who moved to Missouri in 2010 to work for the Union Pacific Railroad, was putting hours into Holloway’s Motorcycle Service, which he founded about four years ago.
“I saw a lot of people walking up and down the street here in Grandview. There is a lot of industry over here. There’s a lot of shops and a lot of traffic. In talking with the city, it seemed like Main Street was getting somewhat overlooked,” Holloway said.
“His secret dream was always to have a coffee shop,” Dorian Holloway said of her husband. “Because he grew up in Seattle, seeing the coffee culture, being part of the coffee scene, he actually knew a couple of people that started the whole thing in the 1980s.”
John was particularly inspired by espresso pioneer David Schoner, owner of Espresso Vivace in Seattle. The name Last Exit itself is also an homage to his hometown, referring to the legendary countercultural haven, Last Exit on Brooklyn, which operated in the city from 1967 through 2000.
“That was a little bit of homage to them, it was one of the oldest coffee shops in the United States. I thought the name also kind of tied in with traveling on motorcycles. You go out and on the long roads you have to pick your exits or there may not be another one for a while,” John said.
To get Grandview’s Last Exit Coffee off the ground, the Holloways enlisted the expertise of Isaac Hodges of Messenger Coffee Co.
“Hodges is the person we’ve talked to a lot early on. He’s helped lots of other small entrepreneurs, coffee shops, to get their feet off the ground. That has really been helping us in hiring and training some really good baristas,” John Holloway said.
With five employees currently on the payroll, the Holloways are looking to expand their hours and services as demand rises. This includes the menu’s food offerings, currently bolstered through a partnership with Scratch Bakery.
“We also have a panini maker and breakfast burritos. We quickly sold through all of the sausage and bacon, but it was a really funny thing to realize that, at the end of the week, we still had a lot of vegetarian burritos left. People in Grandview apparently do not love vegetables,” Dorian Holloway said with a laugh.
Rotating lunch items like sandwiches will also come to Last Exit as business picks up in the coming months. The menu will continue to evolve alongside the shop itself.