The deed is done. Parka is now another outpost of the Dogwood Coffee Company. What seemed like a trifecta of food, wine, and coffee proved to be too cluttered a concept for the East Lake Street bistro. Or maybe its experimental dishes just caught on too slowly with residents of Minneapolis's Longfellow neighborhood. Dan Anderson, co-owner of Dogwood, lamented the loss in a statement, "Parka really came alive of late; however, we've decided to wholly focus on our core businesses of coffee and baking."
The switch took just over a week, but the changes to the space are significant. Gone are the dining tables for four, replaced with sleek reading nooks equipped with robin's egg-blue lamps and a prominent electrical outlet. Looking like a page out of the Design Within Reach catalog, two Adirondack chairs stand sentinel in the center of the room. The formerly open kitchen is now enclosed, with added bar stools positioned around the new countertop. At 2 p.m. on a Sunday, Dogwood was a mellow hive of busy people reading, working on laptops, or chatting with friends, a relaxed workspace that could make you wonder why office cubicles exist.
The room renovation is a definite upgrade, but what about the menu? Although there's a polenta fry-shaped hole that no cold press coffee can fill (R.I.P. Parka's perfect polenta fries), Dogwood's offerings are decent coffee shop fare. For lunch, there are simple grab-and-go sandwiches made with Rustica breads, as well as pre-assembled cheese plates. For a quick snack to take the edge off your caffeine buzz, you can choose from an assortment of Rustica cookies and pastries. And Dogwood is still offering its signature coffee, local beers on tap, and wine by the bottle or glass, as well as a daily happy hour from 2-5 p.m.
What do you think of the switch? Is Longfellow better off with another coffee shop? Did Parka have its chance or could it have won over the neighborhood given a little more time?
Dogwood Coffee 4021 East Lake St., Minneapolis
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