For this week’s Thirsty Thursday, AY About You sits down with Christa Clifton, the cafe manager at Blue Sail Coffee.
Blue Sail’s owner, Kyle Tabor, took time after college to travel, and everywhere he went, he noticed the local coffee shops and the community behind them. Upon returning, he was interested in opening something local in Conway in 2014. At that time, there were no local coffee shops – only big chains.
Tabor slept in the back of the shop and took orders and hustled through the initial phase of starting a business. While the Little Rock location recently closed due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conway location is still alive and well.
Clifton details the drinks that you can find at Blue Sail Coffee. “We sell coffee, pretty much any kind, drip, espresso and latte. We also sell herbal teas, non packaged, no sugar. In the summer we offer smoothies and we actually sell pastries in house, and a lot of local pastries, to help local businesses out,” Clifton says. “As of April 5, we will be starting a breakfast and lunch menu.”
Clifton says that there are some noticeable customer favorites, from Blue Sail’s popular hot drink called The Kraken, to its iced equivalent the Shakerato, both consisting of honey, cinnamon and brown sugar. The customer-favorite pastry is the Crosscreek brownie cheesecake. The staff favorite is a newer drink, a caramel cold brew with sweet cream foam.
Blue Sail Coffee just had their spring market, and all of their spring drinks were released. “The number one so far has been the Sunset,” Clifton says. “It is freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with sparkling citrus soda, garnished with rosemary.”
On June 5, Blue Sail will have their summer market, where they will have 16 local small businesses put up pop up shops throughout their cafe.
In terms of changes coming up, Clifton highlights the expanded breakfast and lunch menus, as well as the implementation of new drip coffees. “We’re trying to give more options to people who love that regular cup of joe,” she says.
Blue Sail Coffee credits all of their success to the community around them, who has encouraged them and helped them grow.
“We couldn’t do any of this without them,” Clifton says. “It’s personal connections and getting to know the customer. I would say that’s the biggest staple.”