The Minneapolis coffee scene has two recent new additions, both from the same company–our longtime friends and partners at Dogwood Coffee, a plucky little quality-focused micro-roaster located in industrial NE MPLS. The years have a way of changing things, and 2014 has seen Dogwood double down on retail, expanding from their original cafe location–in Calhoun Square on Hennepin Avenue–to a three-shop presence across Minneapolis. The additions to the roster are a newly redesigned coffee bar on East Lake in the former home of their Parka project, and one of those fancy coffee bar & retail brand collaboration things at the Minneapolis locations of of Filson and Shinola.
For those unfamiliar, Filson is a heritage menswear brand with a focus on down-the-middle dependable outdoor-wear, and Shinola is a three-year-old maker of watches, leatherwork, bikes, and journals that is working in a similar aesthetic. Filson & Shinola decided to come into Minneapolis together, opening a hybrid retail space on 3rd and Washington in the MPLS North Loop, two shops side-by-side with an adjoining door, in a space that used to be a Dunn Brothers coffee. With an existing coffee bar infrastructure already in place, it made easy sense for Filson & Shinola to approach Dogwood about hopping in on the collaboration.
The shop's small, helmed by just one barista at a time, with current shifts manned by Keith Mrotek, a longtime competition barista, well-known in the Twin Cities coffee community. Espresso service happens on a beautiful little Synesso Hydra machine, backed up by Chemex and Curtis batch brew filter coffee options. The shop opened on October 7th, finally uniting the blissful pursuits of sipping good coffee and browsing for lovely Detroit-made leather satchels and timepieces.
Meanwhile, the former home of Parka–Dogwood's wildly ambitious, perhaps-ahead-of-its-time food & coffee concept–has been converted into a Dogwood coffee bar proper. It still shares space with Forage Modern Workshop, one of the best vintage furniture and lifestyle boutiques in the United Sates. Speaking about the transition with Sprudge, Dogwood owner Greg Hoyt said, “we made a decision to get out of restaurants and focus on what we do really well, which is specialty coffee sourcing and roasting.” Rustica Bakery–part of the Stock & Badge brand family that includes Dogwood Coffee–now bakes some of their goods out of the commercial kitchen in the former Parka space. “We’ve had people come in and say ‘Oh, awesome, we can get Dogwood in this neighborhood now”' Hoyt remarked, with a hint of Minnesota irony–Dogwood coffee could be found at the counter at Parka since January 2013. “Dogwood is the brand that’s becoming successful for us,” Hoyt told Sprudge, “so it’s better that we’re focusing on that.”
The redesign keeps the screaming pink Synesso while updating some of the other elements, including two cute two-top booths, complete with outlets. “Your friends in PDX or NYC would hate that,” Hoyt remarked, “but we in MPLS need them.” On behalf of our friends in PDX and NYC and beyond, we'd like to say that actually cute two-top tables with personal outlets sound awesome.
All photos by Bryant Scannell for Sprudge.com. You can find more of his work on his website: bryantscannell.com.