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First Bite: Le Town Talk Diner
By: Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl | Posted: 05/28/2014
If you’ve been reading the food-internet these past few years, you are aware of the existence of the artisanal toast movement, which seems to divide people into two camps: Love (customers, who enjoy toast, because who doesn’t!), or Hate (bitter headline writers, who like to mock toast restaurants because it’s easy.)
Get up to speed, if you need to, exploring the why (spoiler: toast is good), the how (spoiler: use good bread) the where (San Francisco, naturally), the who, and the when (spoiler: this article is wonderful and beautiful.)
But when will the artisanal toast thing come to Minnesota? Late June! That’s when the Urban Bean Coffee on 33rd and Bryant in South Minneapolis will become the first restaurant of longtime Urban Bean staffer Liz Abene, who will use the spot as the base of her company Canteen Girl.
Abene currently sells her Canteen Girl baked goods—notably her toasty vegan granola and Holly Bars (vegan bars in flavors including strawberry cranberry, peanut butter and jelly, and chocolate coconut almond)—only at the Urban Bean location where she's been working. The ownership change and business license transfer will allow her to wholesale her products to other spots. Expect them eventually at Dogwood Coffee locations.
Speaking of the third-wave coffee pioneer, Dogwood Coffee will continue to be served at that which will be called Canteen. Dogwood's also where Greg Martin, Urban Bean's founder, is putting in time doing sales and business development now that he’s down to owning one coffee shop, the Urban Bean on Lyndale and 24th.
So, everybody grows their businesses, and Minneapolis gets toast, which Abene loves. “I love toast,” she says. “I always have. There’s not a lot more I have to say. I just really like it.”
She plans on setting up a few toasters on the counter at Canteen, setting out a do-it-yourself arrangement of local jams, jellies, nut butters, and butter, maybe avocadoes in the summer, and then featuring breads from our local line-up of all-star bakeries. So there may be Patisserie 46 breads for a few weeks, then Sun Street Breads, then Rustica, then perhaps another bakery. Abene predicts that toast will go over big with her main clients, coffee drinkers heading downtown or working in the coffee shop. But will it provoke the same love/hate response that toast restaurants have in the rest of the country?
Check back in July, when Minneapolis should be nice and—yes, I’m gonna go there—toasty.
Canteen, 3255 Bryant Ave. S., Mpls.
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.See bio
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