Yousef Darkhalil, Aroma Coffee House owner, opened the coffee shop to help residents in the area satisfy their coffee craving.

“You can find coffee at gas stations and McDonald’s, but you don’t have that atmosphere of sitting down,” he said. “If neighbors or anybody that works in the area needs coffee, they have to have to go downtown or drive somewhere.”

The coffee shop offers a warm, open environment for students and community members to sit down and have a cup of coffee. The shop also features a small conference room that can be used by anyone looking to get work done.

This idea inspired Darkhalil to open Aroma Coffee House at 1009 N. Providence Road, which serves a variety of different coffees and baked goods.

The bakery opened Jan. 1, with a soft opening Dec. 15. Darkhalil said the shop will have a grand opening later. Artist Cristina Nunuz is currently creating a mural on the ceiling of the shop.

Darkhalil was also pushed to create Aroma Coffee after a friend polled local students.

“A friend of ours from Hickman ... did a small poll,” he said. “Everybody said they would like to see a coffee shop across the street.”

Darkhalil said he wanted to make the shop fit its surroundings.

“We wanted to create a coffee shop that looked like the neighborhood,” he said. “We didn’t want to build a commercial building.”

Pat Kelley, Ridgeway Neighborhood Association treasurer, was concerned that the shop might create traffic in the neighborhood but has grown to enjoy what the shop has to offer.

“I think the walk in coffee shop is a great idea,” she said. “We weren’t so sure about the drive-thru, but it’s arranged so that people will drive in through Providence, so traffic won’t be cutting through the neighborhood.”

Debate over the coffee shop’s drive-thru nearly prevented the shop from opening, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Ernie Darkhalil, Yousef’s son and barista at the shop, is excited the shop is up and running.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s a really good environment.”

Bruce and Brenda McGuire live nearby and are the owners of Modern Property Groups. The two had a meeting in the shop Jan 10.

“This is like our new conference room,” they said. “It’s our neighborhood coffee shop.”

Darkhalil thanked a lot of different people for helping make this coffee shop happen.

“I wanna say that Linda Ordway and Cedar Creek Organization played a really important role in allowing us to build this building,” he said. “I want to thank all the contractors and workers who helped build it.”

Supervising editor is Galen Bacharier.

  • Public Health and Safety reporter, fall 2019. Studying magazine journalism. Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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