As Fonville Press celebrates its 10th year in Alys Beach, Manager Joe Papagni is working hard to keep the beloved town café a destination hotspot on 30A.
“When I took over two years ago, I wanted to make this a place I would want to come to,” Papagni said. “We added to the menu and expanded our offerings, and we’re continuing to grow.”
After years of vacationing to the beautiful Emerald Coast (and enduring a “depressing drive home” each time), Papagni and his family moved from Birmingham to be by the beach. With a background in specialty foods and markets, Papagni landed at Fonville Press hoping to breathe new life into the struggling coffee shop.
“This place has had its ups and downs,” Papagni admitted. “At one point, they wanted to shut it down and turn it into something else, but it has such a special place in the hearts of our homeowners and locals. So we made some improvements, added to our menu and are doing better than ever.”
Fonville Press is a coffee shop, newsstand, wine bar, market and so much more. Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., it’s a quiet place to enjoy your morning cup of Joe — serving local and fresh fair trade Amavida coffee — or swing by mid-day to grab a quick lunch. It’s also a popular gathering spot at the end of the day to grab a cold one or share a bottle of wine with friends and family. Fonville Press features seasonal wine tastings Tuesday evenings starting at 5 p.m.
“We’re much more than a coffee shop,” Papagni said. “We have something for everyone. But what really keeps people coming back is our level of service and attention to detail. It’s fantastic — the best office to come into everyday.”
As part of the unique community of Alys Beach, the shop continues to draw people from all over the Emerald Coast to enjoy the natural beauty and standout architecture. Inside, photographs decorating the walls give guests a glance into the man behind the name, John Fonville, a dear friend of Alys Beach’s founding family. Outside you can relax in the Fonville courtyard, a shady nook of fountains and bamboo awnings that create a cozy outdoor retreat. The courtyard overlooks Fonville Hill, where children can run around and play on the playhouse right outside the gate.
“Stop by and come see us,” Papagni said. “Our doors are open — come and explore.”