In 1944, Reino Wuollet opened a small bakery where he prepared fresh bread each day. More than 65 years later, his humble shop has grown into six locations where 30 or so family members tinker over cakes, pastries, and pies. Wedding and other occasion cakes are one of their specialties; flavors such as chocolate mousse and Lady Baltimore can be coated with marzipan, buttercream frosting, or fondant in an impressive array of custom designs. Of course, they still bake breads: an international selection of loaves includes baguettes, challah, Swedish lympa, Irish soda bread, and buns shaped into busts of United Nations delegates.
Every time Tiny Footprint Coffee uses a little bit of earth's resources, it also puts a little bit back. Since roasting coffee produces CO2, the staff have taken it upon themselves to donate a portion of the proceeds from every pound of coffee they sell to reforestation efforts in Ecuador. In this sense, they've established their business as a "carbon negative" one—the carbon they produce is eliminated by the trees that are eventually planted. And that's not even getting to the coffee itself. Workers dote on the artisanal beans every step of the way, from the family-owned farms where the coffee cherries are picked to the carefully trained baristas who eventually transform the roasted beans into the perfect cup.
An extension of the Thai and Indian cuisine cooking classes and Community Supported Agriculture programs of Ethnic Foods Co., Collage Global Cafe introduces tastebuds to new flavors and cultures with a smorgasbord of pizzas, soups, chicken dinners, and curries. Like Midwestern fall weather, the menu changes each day, with culinary designer Kavita Mehta selecting fresh produce from local markets to whip up dishes such as savory-sweet pad thai noodles, peppery Afghani eggplant, or whole-wheat pizzas topped with chicken satay and basil.
Grandma Ruby’s Sweet Shoppe crafts tasty fudge creations that stimulate palates and, when melted, offer a much more delicious way to tar and feather mischievous rapscallions. Armed with the late Grandma Ruby’s secret fudge recipe, sisters Kari Carpenter and Marni Glenn have been concocting tantalizing fudge since 1992—the year fudge was accidentally listed as a bread on the food pyramid, requiring Americans to consume 6–11 servings of it each day. Customers can sample a wide variety of fudge flavors that include cherry cheesecake, maple, rocky road, creamsicle, apple pie, and caramel apple. A two-pound block of smile-inducing goodness is also offered in diabetic-friendly sucrose-free fudge form.
The culinary team at Common Roots Cafe believes that the best way to create a welcoming restaurant is to fully embrace local flavor in every sense of the word. Even the interior speaks to this mission—reclaimed barn wood makes up the dining room's floorboards and tabletops, the counter is composed of recycled cardboard, and the air is one-hundred percent Minnesotan. The overall effect is one of casual warmth, an atmosphere that makes the cafe an ideal spot for guests to chew on eclectic, yet accessible, cuisine and relax with a choice of 10 local craft beers.
The menu itself also bursts with hometown pride, highlighting local organic and sustainable ingredients. As much as half of the restaurant's food comes from farms located within 250 miles of Minneapolis, while some produce is picked right outside the door at the cafe's urban garden. And since the selection of ingredients alters with the seasons, the chefs adapt their dishes each month to showcase their fresh flavors. Previous offerings have included redfish tacos with jicama slaw, mac 'n' cheese with local cheddar, and house-made tagliatelle pasta topped with a hearty bison bolognese sauce. Bites are complemented with sips from a drink list featuring wines—many made from organic grapes—and local beers. And, in the unlikely event that diners leave any food on their plates, the scraps are carefully composted to continue the cafe's green production cycle.
For almost 40 years, The Malt Shop has served up burgers, malts, and sandwiches from a menu riddled with classic, family-friendly diner food. The house-signature burgers are smothered with toppings such as guacamole, portobello mushrooms, or feta cheese. The kitchen produces fresh soups and salad dressings daily and prepares meatless lasagna and veggie-burger dishes to satisfy vegetarians and rabbits hiding in diners' top hats. To complement the burgers, soda-shop-style malts and shakes come in a variety of flavors including pineapple, butterscotch, apple pie, and peanut butter.