Saturday, February 23, 2008

2nd Moon Coffee Cafe
2225 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 343-4255

Open Hours M-F 7am-11pm, Sa-Su 8am-11pm

I was introduced to this shop for a Nader 2004 Meetup group and found it so friendly that I try and stop every time I get in the vicinity. Franklin Ave is very busy and not very bike friendly (I could be wrong about that since I am not from the area), but getting there by way of the trail along the river is possible by way of the Greenway from the west would make it very accessible. Seward Neighborhood is a very cool 'hood. It borders I94, the Mississippi River and Hiawatha. It features the Seward Co-op, the Blue Nile Restaurant and the Seward Cafe (I have not eaten there yet, let me know if it is worthy). Cross the Interstate and your at the UMN...check it out!!

The 2nd Moon's decor is modern, inviting and friendly with a variety of seating choices from cushy lay-z-boyish to hard bench with a view of Franklin. The coffee was well-brewed and the pastries were great - according to my two non-fussy boys. The Uni-Sex restrooms were very clean and user friendly for the kids.

No gripes here just a nice neighborhood shop.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gigi's Cafe
822 W 36th St
Minneapolis, MN


Monday - Saturday: 6.45am - 10pm

Sunday: 7.30am - 10pm

Wow! What more is there to say about Gigi's. Gigi's has grown over the past few years to include a fantastic menu featuring a superb wine list, while offering some good brews. Oh yeah, there is great OFT coffee's and pastries that truly are better than any other coffeehouse in the Twin Cities (that I have sampled anyway).

Gigi's is a place where you can stop for a cookie and a coffee, or bring your sweetheart for a romantic evening by candlelight. The decor is very tastefull and they feature a sidewalk patio that is nearly always crowded.

The hours are very consistent and the bathroom is ALWAYS clean. This is a top notch place where everything is well thought out and done right. Without a white glove treatment, there is not a whole lot to knock about Gigi's. South Minneapolis should be proud to such a fine establishment anchoring this neighborhood in Uptown.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bob's Java Hut
2651 Lyndale Ave. S Minneapolis, MN 55408

Cuppa Joe $1.50

Mon-Thurs 7am-11pm
Fri-Sat 8am-12am
Sun 8am-11pm
For a person like myself whose day seems to always start after 9Pm, Bob's Java Hut gives you that comforting feeling that many SUV driving soccer mom's and elite suburban wannabee's comes to expect in Starbucks and Caribou - it is always open. The hours are for the latenight folk and when I get there, between 9 and 11Pm, it is the latenight crowd who are sitting around smoking and chatting on the sidewalk picnic tables, probably talking about their hotrods or Harleys.
I am not of that ilk, but I am not intimidated when patronizing Bob's. The staff has been one of the most friendliest I have seen(break the ice by asking if the barista ever poked anyone's eye's out with his 12 inch hair spikes) .
If you enjoy motorcycles, you will love the decor. Even though you can't purchase a motorbike, unlike their competitor south of Lyndale where you can buy a bike while you get a coffee (see CRC below), there is memorabilia from bygone days scattered around the shop. Most interesting are the table lamps made from old gears - very cool touch!
Seating is great and plentiful and the bathrooms are always clean. In the warmer weather the great big garage door is opened up and the sounds and smells of Lyndale Ave penetrate the shop. Herein lyes my only my quirk I have ever experienced at Bob's, which management simply cannot control. There are so many smokers that visit Bob's that when the doors open up the smoke enters the shop and is really bothersome. You just have to get there when there are not a lot of smokers gathered out front.
I have never had a bad cup of java at Bob's Java Hut. It always tastes good and is piping hot. Combine the great coffee with the great staff, an interesting and unique atmosphere, and you have a winning coffeeshop.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Caffe Tempo
42nd and Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409


(612) 824-8593
7:00am - 9:00pm daily

12 oz. cuppa joe - 1.40
Latte - 2.55

Quaint. Quaint is the right word to describe Cafe Tempo. I am envious of the residents in this area of South Minneapolis that can get out of bed and stroll down the block to sit and have a fresh pastry, a nice FTO java and read the paper. Or they can sit outside and watch the infrequent traffic on a cool quiet Minnesota summer morning...ahhh!

There is really nothing out of the ordinary about Cafe Tempo, besides the great location. This shop is the kind of shop you may discover by accident from getting lost in, or taking a shortcut through those wonderful South Minneapolis neighborhoods. I found it by accident.

Cafe tempo offers FTO, a nice assortment of pastries, a short list of eats - both breakfast and lunch - along with WiFi and a cozy atmosphere featuring local artists. The bathroom is always clean and they have just done some remodeling. Now there is a wood burning stove on the eastern side of the shop and a more open floor plan.

The staff is nice, although I once asked where the pastries came from and I got a deer-in-the-headlights stare. But overall it is very friendly in the many aspects I mentioned above and is very kid friendly (scores high marks in my book just for thinking about the kids), which any neighborhood shop should be.

No wows here, but a lot of comfortable Aahhhs!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

3346 Lyndale Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55408


Cuppa Joe $1.35
Latte $2.50

I have visited a lot of coffee shops in the Twin Cities and other parts of the country. Cars-R-Coffins (CRC) is hands down the absolutely most innovative shop in the Twin Cities. Until now my favorite coffeeshop has been Websters Bookstore Cafe in State College, Pennsylvania, because of the quality of the coffee (true shadegrown organic fair trade, handpicked from the forests of Columbia) and because of the melding together of coffee and books (and great variety of used and affordable books).

CRC may overtake Websters on my all-time favorite list. CRC melds together bikes and coffee...and does it well!

I was thoroughly impressed by the thoughtfullness and cleanliness of the shop. I have to admit that it was my first stop in for some java (I usually make multiple visits before I blog a shop). As a man who would prefer that his bikes sleep in the same room as himself, nothing could feel more natural than to drink a cup of Peace Coffee with an old Schwinn, or a custom road bike, hanging above my head.

To top it off, you can purchase yourself a bike as easily as a delicious molasses cookie (gotta have one...just like my Gramma Leese would make).

If you hear a lot of those annoying click-click, or persistent squeaks coming from your derailuer, and your brakes are wearing thin, Hurl (the owner) will tune up your bike for a small fee.

Come on! Is that cool or what?

The "garage door" opens up in the summer and some cozy tables are set up on the sidewalk, so you can relax after a jut around the lakes on your bomber, while you sip your latte.

After Hurl posts the hours on the front door (thats just standard procedure, or so I thought), there will be no qualms about who has the most inventive coffeeshop in the Cities. DO NOT feel that you cannot stop if you are not a biker. CRC is a great place to visit. After all, I parked my Saturn/coffin outfront for my delicious black coffee. The only thing better would be to get a good book, have a great cup of coffee and get my Burley tuned up in one trip!

I only regret is not stopping sooner!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Coffee News Cafe
1662 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105

Cuppa Joe $1.25
Latte $2.75

Did I hear you ask for the quintessential college coffeeshop? If I did, the answer would be Coffee News Cafe. Although I have yet to figure out where the name came from.

Every community needs a Coffee News Cafe on their block. Either that or a Birchwood Cafe because everything you need is right there - good food, coffee, local art, ale, wine and a very lived in, good-feeling feeling, if you know what I mean.

Coffee News Cafe is located in the heart of Macalaster College. I discovered it when my older son and I visited the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center a few years back to see our first African Music Ensemble show. We had incredible sandwiches, coffee and a cookie and we were hooked. We look forward to catching a show so we can have a complete evening of music, comfort food and good feeling-feeling that we are in a real community. It truly is a great combination.

If I could find something to nitpick, it would be the strange seating along the west wall and the table my family got stuck in the last time we were there for a meal and some music at the college. But, my wife was so impressed with the fresh cut french fries and chicken sandwich, and I was so loving devouring my portabella mushroom sandwich, that was juicier than the juiciest half-pound burger, we forgot that the table on one side and the heat radiator on the other side was pinching us together. I truly did forget until I started to smell the material of my favorite jacket heating from the radiator kicking in.

It is a great experience and an all around friendly place to just has a good feel....please visit Coffee News Cafe.

PS: I did not see any FTO signs sticking out at me, but they do have some pretty tasty vegetarian items.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Harvest Moon Coffeehouse
5101 Minnetonka Blvd
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
952-922-BREW (2739)


Cuppa Joe $ 1.45

Latte $2.55

Note: My obvious bias is that Harvest Moon is my "local" shop, although I live a couple of miles away.

There is not enough wonderful things I can say about the Harvest Moon Coffeehouse. It truly is the cleanest-of-the-clean. The decor is modern classy and they offer a patio for those nice warm summer mornings to relax in the sun after a nice brisk bike ride on the SW Corridor and around the Chain of lakes.

If I could fault Harvest Moon, it would be the limited FTO coffee offered. For a local shop as popular in the St. Louis Park community as Harvest Moon, they certainly could go with Peace Coffee or another local roaster of FTO.

With that judgement aside, the atmosphere is warm and friendly. You can sit is a variety of cozy seating with low classy music that doesn't blare you out of the shop, as many other TC coffeeshops do.

The owners are local (and very nice also) and are committed to their community, with local art, local entertainment and a nice large space offered in reserve for your knitting club, environmental organization, or monthly neighborhood meetings.

Harvest Moon offers a limited, but enticing sandwich and soup menu that doesn't steel your wallet. My kids and I truly love the quesadillas.

As with any successful local shop, Caribou Coffee (sucks) and Starbucks (double sucks), have moved in within blocks of Harvest Moon like a couple of money sucking leeches whose only goal is to unfairly outcompete the locals, send your money out-of-state, and in the end offer you only corporate choices. Support Harvest Moon Coffeehouse. It is worth the stop!

The Harvest Moon Coffeehouse has extended their Fair Trade options to include an evening FTO and two choices in the daytime, instead just one available choice. Thanks Harvest Moon!

Urban Bean Coffee
3255 Bryant Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Free WiFi
Cuppa Joe $
Latte $

If you are looking for excitement, don't park your bike at Urban Bean. The mezmerizing music will lull you to sleep. On the other hand, if mezmerizing music helps you study and you are an insomniac, Urban Bean Coffee on Bryant Ave S is the perfect place for you.

The staff tends to be moody in the evenings and the overpriced bakery items are very poor quality. The coffee selection is fine, but I didn't see any FTO advertising anywhere, so unless I am mistaken, it is conventional (I may report later on new findings).

Urban Bean is a great addition to the neighborhood. It supports local art and is in a quiet location with plenty of outdoor seating. Indoor seating is quite comfy also and with the ad hoc selection of retro Goodwill finds, you can find one that suits your bum.

I really enjoy the new sillouettes of urbanity painted on the walls. It keeps with the theme and looks clean, is original and uncluttered. If your apartment or office is consistently cluttered, then Urban Bean may be where you find your zen of cleanliness and simplicity. On that note, the bathroom earns a C for cleanliness considering the floor looks like it hasn't been moped in years and the toilet made me shriek.

You certainly will enjoy your experience at Urban Bean, but you may want to ask for a side double-shot of expresso to keep your eyelids from getting heavy.

PS: They need a website to enter the same century as their decor.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Anodyne Coffeehouse
4301 Nicollete Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55409

Reg latte - $2.25 plus tax
Cuppa Joe - $1.61 with self-serve refills for 50 cents on the honor system!
A trusting lot aren't they...

Anodyne's is certainly a praiseworthy establishment that takes its menu very seriously. Coffee is organic Fair-Trade from Peace Coffee. Soups are made from scratch, along with the granola, waffles and pastries. Organic ingredients are used and available. My kids enjoy the donuts!

Anodyne's Coffeehouse is a community oriented shop. The art is local and jazz is available from 7:30 to 9:30PM every Tuesday evening. Friday nights are reserved for local musicians from 8 to 10PM.

You'll find seating for most types of comfort levels. My tush prefers a cushion, which is readily available at Anodyne's. In the middle of the dining area is a long table that feels awkward, and frankly, looks awkward, but provides a bingo-like community atmosphere. The lighting is sufficient, but barely, and I wouldn't advise trying to study with the music blaring.

Anodyne's decor is industrial-trendy and very original. It has some corrugated galvanized metal and other crafty reused materials which gives it a part-diner feel. The industrial trend continues in the bathroom where the floors and toilet were clean, but they need to ask one of their pierced baristas to wipe the half-inch thick dust off the pipes and dirt stains on the walls. If you go, please don't add to the icky graffiti on the walls - have you no shame!!

Anodyne's Coffeehouse is a wonderful experience, from the toys for the kids to play with, to the great menu, community orientation, and the comfy seating. But if I could share my pet peeve with management - please buy "sugar in the raw" packets and not in bulk. Do you know how difficult it is to properly measure sugar on a spoon? My coffee gets over sweetened every single time.

Anodyn's has repainted and cleaned up part of their men's bathroom...thank you Lord!! And they now offer Sugar in the Raw for those of you sugar packet neurotics like myself...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dunn Bros (Minnetonka Mills)
12934 Minnetonka Blvd.
Minnetonka, MN 55305

• Free WiFi Access
• Live Music • Patio Seating

Cuppa Joe - $1.60

Minnetonka Mills Dunn Bros carries a limited variety of Fair Trade Organic, according to a long-haired Phish throw-back barista.
The clientele ranges from the grumpy-old-men category and soccer mom's, to your typical briefcase suburbanites, and some regular folk mixed in.
This Dunn Bros location is cozy. The unisex bathroom is clean, but you have to get the key from the wall next to the counter. I've always been weary of those keys that everyone touches after they've done their duty. It makes a person want to eat their apple fritters before nature calls.
Did I just say apple fritters? It is worth the trip into the suburban boonies for an apple fritter. Dunn Bros apple fritters are like french bread - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. My tummy is growling just thinking of it.
Before I give it a thumbs up. Don't forget your "support the troops" magnetic ribbon, because this places' decor is jingo-all-the-way.
Besides the "blind patriotism" feeling of Minnetonka Mills Dunn Bros (and I enjoy dipping my toe into the other side of the political spectrum), I enjoy a cuppa joe in Minnetonka Mills.