Finding the perfect blend: Mugs Cafe

“Neither coffee nor the coffeehouse is the heart’s behest. The heart seeks friendship; coffee is the pretext.” – Turkish saying

There’s a lot of research out there about the pros and cons of working from a coffee shop, but here’s what it boils down to: are you a dog or cat person?

Dog person: “Hello! Who are you? What’s your name? I love your sweater! Let’s be friends.”

Cat person: “I want to be here, I want to be near you, but don’t touch my stuff. And…don’t look at me.”

mugs cafe @kjlemaster
Photo by Kathryn LeMaster (@kjlemaster)

That may be oversimplifying, but it’s true. Some people thrive in a constantly changing environment in which new people means more potential for great things to happen. Other people love coffee shops because they can hole up in a corner with ambient music and a laptop for several blissfully undisturbed hours. Achieving an environment that perfectly balances connection and solitude is a difficult feat, but most will agree that Mugs Café in North Little Rock’s Argenta District has succeeded.

“We see it every day. From Instagram meet-ups to architects and real estate moguls hatching plans; from visual artists collaborating to students studying,” says Michael Carpenter, who owns Mugs Café with wife Amanda. “We actually wish we could capture the stories of all the ideas that have been hatched and deals struck in our space.”

mugs cafe
2013 Little Rock Instameet

And there are plenty. Few local places allow you to gather and collaborate (efficiently) outside of the office. And why wouldn’t you just use that nice big conference room at the office or Skype from your cozy couch? Because sometimes loosening the reins equals creativity and new opportunities. Just try sharing a table with strangers, for a change.

“While ‘community’ is an over-used term these days, communal tables do just that – create space for community to happen,” Carpenter says. “The coffee and food we serve is simply the curator.”

In January, Mugs Cafe will be one of the competing restaurants raising donations for the Arkansas Foodbank in the “North Little Rock Dine Off” challenge, as part of North Little Rock Restaurant Month.

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North Little Rock CVB announces North Little Rock Restaurant Month

The North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the Arkansas Foodbank and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Athletic Department, announced today that North Little Rock Restaurant Month will kick off January 1, 2016.

The newest promotion part of Restaurant Month is the inaugural “Dine Off”, set for January 22 – February 4. Select restaurants throughout North Little Rock will be collecting monetary donations on behalf of the Arkansas Foodbank in a friendly competition for the North Little Rock Dine Off 2016 Golden Plate. A list of competing restaurants can be found here.

“The local restaurants have really rallied together to help the community,” said Bob Major, Executive Director of the North Little Rock CVB. “We hope people will enjoy a nice meal in North Little Rock, support the Arkansas Foodbank at a time when supplies are low and experience family fun at a Little Rock Trojans game.”

The North Little Rock CVB is also repeating last year’s popular UALR basketball promotion. For the whole month of January, people are also encouraged to bring receipts from any North Little Rock restaurant to the Visitors Information Center in Burns Park or the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce to receive free tickets to the Feb. 4 Little Rock Trojans basketball game.

Throughout the month of January, the North Little Rock CVB will be giving away weekly prizes in its #EatNLR Foodie Contest for social media posts featuring photos from North Little Rock restaurants and using the hashtag #EatNLR. Contest guidelines are available here.

“After the holidays it is always important to remember that hunger is never seasonal,” says Arkansas Foodbank CEO Rhonda Sanders. “By participating in the Dine Off 2016, you are helping create a hunger-free community and making a difference in the lives of thousands of families, children and seniors who are dealing with food insecurity.”

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