Hello, TBF Cafe!

The temperatures were frigid, the welcome was warm. This week, The Bachelor Farmer Cafe opened its doors in the old Askov Finlayson space, brightening North Loop mornings with the promise of coffee and pastries starting at 6am. While the neighborhood has blossomed with restaurants and shops, grocery stores and condo developments, breakfast and lunch options have remained limited, especially for city dwellers who have ditched their cars for more urban methods of travel.

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There’s a familiar warmth you’ll feel while flipping through the morning paper in the sun-filled cafe. With plenty more sophisticated and approachable nordic flavors to enjoy, expect the cafe to act as an extension of Paul Berglund’s kitchen, led by Brett Weber (chef de cuisine) and sous chef Ian Heieie. Emily Marks’ pastries shine front and center, satisfying both sweet and savory cravings.

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We stopped in last Saturday for an early lunch, ordering the first round of open faced sandwiches at 10am. The menu brought me right back to our recent trip to Scandinavia, where open faced sandwiches were had on the daily. To whet your palette: think duck confit with caramelized cabbage and pickled sweet peppers, house-made ham with Camembert (from Mankato, Minnesota) and pickled zucchini, fresh cow’s milk cheese with salt-roasted beets, hazelnuts, and honey. There’s even pork and black bean chili and smoked potato soup to warm you up. It is light and satisfying and absolutely worth making the trip downtown on your lunch break. There’s plenty of seating for those stopping in for a quick bite at the bar.

Another highlight: the coffee. TBF Cafe’s head barista, Casey Underkofler, worked with long-time partner, Dogwood, on a custom North Loop Blend. It’s a roast Joe and I both enjoy– light, drinkable, complex. (This review coming from two people who know little to nothing about coffee). Notably, the cafe’s first rotating offering is from Heart Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. I’ve heard from my knowledgable coffee friends that this is, indeed, an exciting addition to the selection of roasts available in the Twin Cities. I’m excited to try it.

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For more information, check out this great Star Tribune interview by Rick Nelson with owner Eric Dayton and TBF Cafe’s Brett Weber, Emily Marks, and Casey Underkofler.

The Bachelor Farmer Cafe: Open 6am to 5pm Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Lunch served 11am to 3pm daily. Open sandwiches $6-$8, closed sandwiches (coming soon), salads $4-$9, soups $4-$8. Small wine/beer selection, $5-$13.

Design: James Dayton Design
Tiles: www.mercurymosaics.com
Photography: Black Wolf