By Jordan Wolfe
Lattes! Cappuccinos! Double-shot-no-whip-extra-foam-vanilla-almond-white-chocolate-mochas!
R-and-R Espresso is nearing its twenty-fifth anniversary, next year, and owner Gloria Robben reflected on being the second coffee shop to open in Rockaway Beach, in 1992.
“Before opening, we were filling out paperwork and the person working said another coffee shop had just done the same thing,” Robben said. “I thought ‘Oh my God, what have I done?'”
Nearly 25 years, and a few locations later, Robben and her daughter, Jamie Holt, are making drinks and preparing food in their trailer, amongst a sea of coffee beans, syrups and to-go cups.
“I can’t even imagine what else I would do, I love coffee. I’ll be here till I can’t stand anymore, or my arms don’t work,” Robben said.
Robben said she has worked off-and-on, since 2000, with her daughter.
“She’s my favorite employee and my partner. Not legally, but she’s still my partner,” Robben said.
In 2008, she sold her original downtown Rockaway location and moved to Redmond. “The restaurant was a lot of work – just too much. I wanted to downsize and get a coffee kiosk. We did that during the collapse of 2008, then Dutch Bros. moved in.”
Robben said she returned in 2011, after her coffee representative told her of a trailer available back in Rockaway Beach, and has been there since.
“I love being on the coast. I love being apart of this community. In Redmond, I was anonymous,” she said. “Rockaway is home.”
Aside from the standard caffeinated fare, R-and-R Espresso offers gyros, burgers, chicken-bacon-ranch wraps, biscuits and gravy and breakfast burritos. Robben adds that they are famous for their scones and coffee cake.
“I had a regular customer who used to call our apricot almond scones ‘hockey pucks,’ as a joke, so I stuffed bits of paper towel in one of the scones and baked it in to give to him as a prank.”
Robben gave it to him free of charge and said that when he didn’t react while eating it, she was mortified to realize that she had already sold the pranked scone. Years later, the customer she attempted to prank revealed that he actually did get the paper towel scone – and ate every bite.
In her time in Rockaway, Robben said she enjoys the relationships that have been built.
“It’s fun. We have a customer who first started coming when their child was four or five, now they’re graduating high school this year.”
She also recounted a fourth grader whom helped make the original menu boards with her sister-in-law. The boy is now a father, who still comes in.
Robben said, “That’s the stuff that’s invaluable – the ties.”
R-and-R Espresso is located at 610 North HWY 101 Rockaway Beach, in the same lot as D’Viener Vendor food cart, and currently open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For more information, or to place an order to go, call (503)-355-3315.