Fast, easy and simple. Nope! Not even close to what you’re thinking. Please get your minds out of the gutter, everyone (wink). Those are the words to describe our latest Dishin’ It adventure. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the start of the week, engulfed by emails and phone calls, we took a quick “time-out” and visited the nearest library. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we visited our award-winning McAllen Public Library and its in-house eatery, The Black Iron Cafe.

The Black Iron Cafe was the perfect setting for a “Zen” lunch to get our thoughts in order, take a deep breath and reconnect after a few days of chaos. From the cheerful and friendly staff to the colorful blackboard menu and the welcoming “Coffee and Friends-A Perfect Blend” sign, it was an ideal setting for us, self-proclaimed book lovers and foodies.


Trisha: Hey, doll! *greeting Gaby upon her arrival* Being that I had to fast this morning and all, I already placed my order for the yummy sounding Bagel Special (Turkey, bacon, spinach, provolone, cream cheese, and avocado sauce). I also substituted the provolone for slices of rich avocado. I’m starving!

Gaby: Ooooh, nice choice. It’s delicious! Although, I think I’m actually gonna go for the Caprese Panini (Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, pesto).

Trisha: Whoa. My favorite carnivore eating a sans meat sandwich? That’s one for the books!

Gaby: What can I say, I’m a woman of many hats.


In all fairness, our choices were not easily made. There are so many healthy and appetizing options to choose from on the menu like the Old Main (wrap or panini) made up of smoked ham, turkey, bacon, garlic aioli, provolone and jalapeno, the Jalapeno Veggie Wrap with baby spinach, avocado, portabella, mozzarella and then there’s the Roasted Chicken Spinach (wrap, panini, or salad) containing roasted chicken, spring mix, chipotle ranch and mozzarella. The chicken is never frozen and delivered only twice a week by local chef, Anthony Alaniz. Get it while it’s available.

INSIDER’S TIP: If chicken is your favorite poultry, your best chances for feasting on the nutritious bird are on Tuesdays and Fridays, when the deliveries are made to the cafe.

Our beverage choices were slightly easier to make. Tea is our thing, so one Green Pomegranate iced tea and a more traditional sweet iced tea helped us cool down on this scorching summer day. The free refills were also a welcomed indulgence.

For the Java fans out there, rejoice! The Black Iron Cafe serves it up hot AND cold for coffee, latte, Americano, cappuccino, and Mocha. There are also non-coffee beverages like Chai, Italian sodas, iced tea, and smoothies. Perfect for washing down a chosen treat from the baked fresh daily cookie assortment available for dessert. If cookies aren’t your “cup of tea”, you can also select a muffin or brownie supplied by Breadsmith in McAllen.


Gaby: The Black Iron Cafe is the perfect, little, quaint hang out to escape the everyday busy lifestyle of the McAllenite. Ummm, should we even publish this? Lol

Trisha: I promise you, Gaby, they won't run out of your faves and we’ll still be the mega nerds in here.


Visit the friendly and knowledgeable staff at The Black Iron, located inside the McAllen Public Library at 4001 N 23rd St, McAllen, Texas, TX 78504. You can also call them at (956) 379-2074 or email them at for additional information. Stay up to date with what’s happening on Facebook @blackironcafe.

Also, while you're there, make sure to get your library card for access to an enormous abundance of books, including e-books, films and anything you can think of. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to visit the nation's largest one-story library! We take “every thing is bigger in Texas”, quite seriously in McAllen.

Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.