Now that we’re deep into the era of the $5 coffee, we might as well get a stunning room to sip it in.
Dean Phillips (yes, of the Phillips Distilling Company) is one of the partners of Penny’s, a “design-driven” new coffee shop that he says is destined to become an international brand. And, he says, it’s not any ordinary coffee shop, as anyone can clearly see.
“It’s a 15-minute reprieve from whatever in the heck it is you’re doing,” he says.
Think of it as a cocktail break you can have in the middle of the day. The room is as beautiful as any bar in the city if not more so, with floor-to-ceiling windows, so much natural light you gotta squint, and a barista’s station so opulent it could easily get swapped out with booze and beer. Which is great, because a beer and wine license is forthcoming.
Phillips says he prefers to think of Penny’s as that “reprieve” because this is not only about coffee. It’s about crepes -- incredible crepes -- and the beauty of the space, and the tunes. Tunes that you actually want to hear, and not just what the baristas foist upon you. Samba, reggae, African soul, and other ear candy that edges the line between soothing and reviving pump out of a compact Phantom sound system crouched inconspicuously in the corner.
Patisserie 46 pastries are available to pair with Columbe Pure Black on nitro coffee and the typical list of espresso drinks using locally roasted Spyhouse beans. But if you’ve got that full 15 minutes, do yourself a huge favor and turn to that crepes list.
A prosciutto, pesto, and chevre version was filled with fat strips of cured ham, and a cracking fresh basil pesto with real pine nuts. The levity of the crepe was completely on point, and finished with a lemon-dressed tangle of mint and frisee. Not just a reprieve, but a daymaker.
They’re available in a handful of compelling flavors including caramel apple and roasted shiitake mushroom.
Also see: French macarons, Pocky (those Japanese chocolate-dipped biscuits), and clutches of office-types wandering around agog, exclaiming, “Isn’t this cute?!”
Besides being the prettiest place to get caffeinated in town, it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. The baristas are actually friendly, which you know is no small thing if you spend any time at all drinking in high-end coffee shops. It’s just coffee.
And here, you can actually think of it as just coffee, because despite the glorious surrounds, they’ve kept price points reasonable, espresso drinks are all $4.75 and under, and a drip is $3.
Everybody deserves a reprieve, after all.
100 Washington Ave., Minneapolis