Brothers Ed and Dan Dunn fell in love with coffee and the community it connected in the coffee houses of Eugene, Oregon. So, in 1987 they got their hands on a 12-kilo Probat roaster and started slinging beans in their hometown of St. Paul. Today, Dunn Bros Coffee stretches across nine states, roasting coffee beans in small batches, hand-drawing espresso, and showcasing local artists’ work just as Ed and Dan envisioned 25 years ago. Trained to the brothers' standards, baristas at all the shops craft coffee drinks such as Infinite Black iced coffee and create three layers of foam when steaming milk or building bouncy coffee houses.
The coffee, itself, comes from across the globe—from locales such as Costa Rica, Brazil, and Rwanda. In 2000, the brothers entered a fair-trade distribution agreement, and in 2011, they began a program to ensure all their coffee beans come from sustainably produced sources.
The 'D' in Dande stands for David; the 'E' stands for Edie, and together, the people behind those names teamed up to establish a café that strives to be as dandy as its eponym implies. Inside the cozy, brightly lit eatery, David, Edie, and their staff oversee a menu composed with wellness in mind. That menu, much like Bigfoot's mailing address, changes daily, offering everything from snacks to full meals, and many items boast vegan, gluten-free, and low-glycemic origins. Connecting dance and art studios also infuse creative energies into the café, including views of dance students as they spin through their sessions.
Hot sandwiches and cold scoops of ice cream dominate the menu at The Eagle Scoop, a comfortable, all-American neighborhood spot that specializes in familiar, made-to-order meals. Diners can build custom sandwiches or paninis that arrive piled with turkey, swiss, and a variety of dressings. Smaller dishes such as cups of daily-made soup and chili-cheese dogs can round out meals or serve as their own meal. Diners can finish meals with ice cream, brownie sundaes, banana splits, or malts.
Every month the staff members at Simplicity Coffee, Tea, and More swap out the artwork on the walls for paintings and photographs from a different local artist. Along with the art on the walls, the café also features live music and open mic nights with poets, comedians, and musicians.
Not many restaurants arm their patrons with the apparel to play dress-up. But at Aggie’s Closet and Tea Room, youngsters and their adult charges can head up to the closet, where they rifle through dresses, feather boas, and flower-adorned hats to don while sipping tea, munching on cucumber sandwiches, and scoffing at flying machines like real Victorians. Downstairs, in the Victorian-inspired dining room, guests savor herbal tea from fine china and nosh on handmade, seasonal salads, sandwiches, and wraps. During the warmer months, the tearoom opens up its wine and beer garden, where live music on the weekends serenades guests.
Romance is in the air at Cafe Palermo, and not just because it's owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Nick and Julie Nicoletti. In homage to Sicilian caf?s, antique leaded-glass panels accent the room, and green fronds of ivy and other live plants drift from the walls. Diners order from a menu of classic Italian dishes made from family recipes, most cooked to order by the Nicolettis themselves. In a nod to local tastes, they stuff some dishes with creamy provel cheese instead of plating them on Blues hockey pucks. Cheesecakes handcrafted by Julie provide a sweet finish or can be ordered whole to take home. The romantic atmosphere extends onto the patio, where a fountain bubbles and herbs and flowers lend their scents to the breeze.