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Coffee Shops Posts

Birth of a Blog: Back-to-Back Mornings at Duluth Coffee Spots

Cup of MudIt was probably midwinter when I decided on starting a blog. But as with most things, I hadn’t felt enough motivational surge to pull the trigger and actually do it. With the coming of spring I finally found the well and pumped myself up for back-to-back mornings at two of my favorite hometown hangouts. On the hunt for good vibes, yummy breakfast food, the world wide web and a cup (or three) of coffee, my plan was to spend the majority of both days two-fold: putting together a website and taking photos in anticipation of somehow capturing the weekend in a blog to gain some much needed content.

Duluth Coffee Company expansion underway

DuluthCoffee

Duluth Coffee Company is expanding its footprint on the 100 block of East Superior Street with plans for a major upgrade to its roasting operations and more space for events and education.

The coffee roasting business and over-the-counter java shop has occupied 105 E. Superior St. since 2012. Owner Eric Faust recently took over the former BB Makeup location two doors down at 101 E. Superior St. and renovation work there is underway. When the project is completed, Duluth Coffee will move its roasting operations into the new location on the corner of the block while retaining the original coffee-shop space.

Bagels, coffee and pizza coming to Endion

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A co-branded Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels will open in a new luxury apartment complex that’s been quickly taking shape in Duluth’s Endion neighborhood.

Morgan Park’s only coffee shop and eatery turns two

Felisha and Brandon Johnson

Felisha Johnson and her father-in-law, Paul Johnson

When Morgan Park School closed in 2012, the neighborhood seemed to be in decline. Two prominent businesses, Advantage Emblem and Park State Bank, had already moved out. The grocery store and post office were long gone. Nothing new seemed on the horizon.

Paul Johnson and his son Brandon, owners of the Lakeview Store Building, felt the area needed a gathering place. In 2014 they opened Iron Mug Coffee House in the building’s southern end at 1096 88th Ave W. July marks the two-year anniversary of Iron Mug’s opening, while the historic building that served as one of the first indoor shopping malls in the United States recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

Duluth ups its caffeination with opening of Grand World Coffee

Grand World Coffee exterior

West Duluth welcomed another neighborhood coffee shop on Jan. 4. Grand World Coffee opened in the former Subway sandwich shop space at 4918 Grand Ave., next to Vision-Pro Optical.

Jefferson People’s House closing July 12

Jefferson People's HouseJefferson People’s House will close July 12, according to an announcement on the Facebook page of the worker-owned cafe, bookstore and social-justice community spot that specialized in coffee and toast.

It’s the fourth piece of coffee-shop related news in recent weeks. Jitter’s has changed ownership and become Lake Superior Bakehouse, Vietnamese Lotus Inn has reopened as VN Coffee House and Cookie Temptations has opened a coffee shop in the Fitger’s Brewery Complex.

Jefferson People’s House is located in a storefront just below Anytime Fitness on the corner of 15th Avenue East and Jefferson Street in Duluth’s Endion neighborhood.

Below is the Facebook message to customers:

Dear Cherished Community,

June 1st, 2014, we started a venture that has involved love, affection, fierce dedication, and cooperative exuberance. Jefferson People’s House has seen a year of delicious toasts and community growth. We rode this train until the tracks ran out. Our team has simultaneously discovered new opportunities and have decided as a collective to dissolve Jefferson People’s House to put our energies into new, exciting projects. We have loved our time together, and it is bittersweet that we leave this adventure. Our official closing date is July 12. In the meantime, we will be open regular hours (barring July 3-5.) Keep an eye out for our closing weekend events, July 10th and 11th. Our Flowers and Coffee CSA will continue as planned through October.

Much love and solidarity, Jefferson People’s House

New coffee shop in Fitger’s complex

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Cookie Temptations & Coffee House has done a soft open in the Fitger’s Complex. The sign indicates it will open on July 1, but customers were being served on Monday. The small coffee shop has no seating and is, more or less, situated in the hallway of the ground floor of the Fitger’s Brewery Complex.

Vietnamese Lotus Inn is back … as VN Coffeehouse

Steve and Cuc Allen 2015

On Feb. 2, 2013, the Vietnamese Lotus Inn planned to close its doors for good. A little over two years later, owners Steve and Cuc Allen have reopened with a new name, VN Coffeehouse.

Goodbye Jitters, hello Bakehouse

Lake Superior Bakehouse

Lake Superior Bakehouse Bakery and Coffee HouseJitters Lake Superior Coffee & Tea House is no more. New sister-brother owners Katina and Pauly Petsoulis took over in February and launched a name change last weekend. The new Lake Superior Bakehouse at 102 W. Superior St. promises “small-batch baked goods all from scratch and small-batch house-roasted coffees.”

Although the look of the space is changing and the variety of baked goods and other foods expanding, Katina notes one thing will stay the same.

“A lot of Jitters regulars were loyal to the coffee,” she said. “We have the same roaster, Jesse Bamford.”

Perfect Coffee Shop: Beaner’s Central

PDDPerfectCoffeeShopAwardLogoA rash of new coffee joints have opened up in Duluth in recent years, but an old favorite was the clear winner in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the best coffee shop. Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse has been as much known for its live music and friendly vibe over the past 15 years as it has for the Alakef-roasted java blends served there daily. Not to mention the baked goods, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, random experimental breakfasts, beers, wines, art exhibitions, basement recording studio and whatever else the affable and eccentric owner and founder Jason Wussow decides to offer next. It’s no wonder Beaner’s dominated with 50 percent of the vote in the three-way race for Duluth’s coffee-shop crown.

Beaner's Central Concert Coffeehouse Jason Wussow - Beaner's Central Concert Coffeehouse Beaners Exterior 2013

Jefferson People’s House, which opened just three months before our poll, gave a strong second place performance with 28 percent of the vote. The not-quite-two-year-old Duluth Coffee Co. cafe and roasterie also performed well, pulling in 22 percent of the vote.

PDD Awards Index

Best Coffee Shop in the Duluth Area Poll (Final Ballot)

In our elimination round poll we pitted 11 coffee shops against each other. The top three now do battle in this contest to answer the question …

What is the best coffee shop in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. There results were:

Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse – 50.4 percent
Jefferson People’s House – 27.8 percent
Duluth Coffee Co. – 21.8

Amity Coffee is open in Lakeside

Amity Coffee - Duluth Lakeside

Amity Coffee DuluthAmity Coffee opened on Sept. 6 at 4429 E. Superior St., serving up java from Duluth Coffee Co. The owners are Adam Swank and Patti Chuang.

The artwork on the walls is a selection of landscape paintings by Aaron Kloss.

Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Best Coffee Shop in the Duluth Area Poll (Elimination Round)

Through our usual highly scientific means, a list of nominees for best Duluth-area coffee shop has been developed. Now it’s time to narrow down the choices with a round of voting.

What is the best coffee shop in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. The top three, advancing to the final ballot are:

Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse
Duluth Coffee Co.
Jefferson People’s House

Nominees for Best Coffee Shop in the Duluth area

It’s been a few months since we’ve done a poll on PDD, but we trust that with all the “Vote Duluth the best outdoor city in the galaxy or whatever” hype that most of you thought a break was for the better. Now it’s time to return to our quest to decide what the best city’s best things are.

Before we launch our poll to name the best coffee shop, we have to establish a list of nominees by asking you to rant in the comments. The ground rules are fairly simple:

  • As usual, the territory we are covering encompasses Duluth and anywhere within 10 miles of Duluth’s border – so coffee shops in Superior, Hermantown, Proctor and the various bordering townships all qualify; Two Harbors and Cloquet are out of bounds.
  • The criteria for what defines a coffee shop or what makes one “the best” is pretty open. Certain bakeries and restaurants kind of double as coffee shops, and that’s fine. Some places have a focus on live music or a kick-ass record collection, others sink a fortune into furniture or double as a place of worship. Feel free to consider those things along with the coffee itself, or don’t. In the end, voters will decide what’s important to the masses.
  • It’s fine to nominate a corporate giant like Starbucks, Caribou or Dunn Bros., but be specific if you do. Pick a particular location; don’t nominate the franchise as a whole.
  • Keep in mind that we are not issuing a challenge here to name every coffee shop that exists in the area. We’re just asking you to tell us which ones you think have a reasonable chance of winning a poll.

That’s about it. Make your thoughts known and we’ll launch the poll on Friday.

Mystery Photo #16: Holm’s Kaffe Stuga

Holm's Kaffe - Fond du Lac

This photo is labeled “Holm’s Kaffe Stuga, Fond du Lac, Duluth, Minn.” From that we can assume the Fond du Lac neighborhood had a Swedish coffee cottage at some time in history. When? Where? And who is this Holm character?