Although they opened on April Fools 2011, Rozz Tox is certainly no joke. The Rock Island business has surprises around every oddly decorated corner.
“First timers should expect it to be different, but that’s the exciting factor,” owner Benjamin Fawks said.
The lounge style seating in the front may look like a typical coffee shop but venture farther back and the place transforms into an art gallery, film screening room and live music haven.
“We are a cultural space,” Fawks said. “It’s hitting all your senses.”
The menu is also something of the unexpected including, but certainly not limited to, 47 different flavors of cupcakes as well as Ramen Noodles, CountChocula cereal and Wong Lo Kat, a “summery Chinese herbal drink.” The inspiration of Rozz Tox comes from Fawks’s first business, Loft 345, located in Guangzhou, China.
“The films we screen, the music we play and the menu are all modeled after the first store,” Fawks said. “I was nervous from the transition because usually American’s don’t like this (stuff), but our customers adapted very well.”
The Moline native first stumbled upon Loft 345, while attending university in China, as a customer. He then worked for and eventually took over the 2-year-old business in 2005.
“I always wanted my own space, but I had no intention of starting this in China,” the 30 year old said. “It was something that just happened, and I’m happy it did.”
So why Rock Island, Ill.? Fawks wanted to give the Quad Cities something that was currently not being done. With his knowledge of the area and his mother Marisa, the cupcake baker and part owner, together Rozz Tox was created.
“I don’t have free time, Fawks said. “I wake up and check my e-mail, but it’s fantastic.”
The favorite part of his job is simply keeping the place running and making sure everything is ready. His favorite flavor of the seemingly endless cupcake list is carrot cream cheese after a long pause with a stroke of his beard.
If your summer plans include staying around here, Rozz Tox has a complete line up of fresh summer gigs and an outdoor lounge space. Cupcakes, fresh air and live music. Summer nights in the making.