The former Nicollet Coffee Shop has undergone a quiet metamorphosis over the past nine months.
New owners Kirstin Wiegmann and Jeff Therkelsen took over shop on the corner of Franklin and Nicollet (not to be confused with the Nicollet Diner a few blocks further north) last August. They've since added 12 tap lines and introduced a new plant-based menu; and in February, they changed the name of the restaurant to Reverie Café & Bar.
The space is large, with high ceilings and exposed brick walls; even when there are customers inside, the scale of the room can make it seem empty. The walls are open to local artists to display their work; and there's often an eclectic mix of live music, from regular Thursday night jazz performances to more experimental sounds. “The venue has defined the concept,” says Wiegmann. “We want it to be a comfy, welcoming neighborhood place, and one way we do that is by supporting artists to do their thing in a way they can thrive.”
Reverie serves lunch and dinner; breakfast will be rolled out eventually. Befitting its history as a coffee house, the shop offers a solid caffeine fix any time. The food is casual, and service is counter style. There are a couple of nibbly items to enjoy with a beer, namely chips with guacamole and salsa, or a choice of cauliflower or hummus dip with pita. There are a few salads and a daily soup, as well as a handful of sandwich options.
The TLT, smoked tempeh with a basil aioli, spinach, and tomato on sourdough, packed a nice garlicky punch, and the tempeh was a good stand-in for bacon. Wiegmann recommends the Cubano, starring pulled jackfruit in a smoky sauce on a Vietnamese French roll with garlic aioli and pickled onions. Unripened jackfruit, when cooked, takes on a flavor uncannily like pulled pork, and is also featured in the carnitas tacos, with lemongrass sour cream, pickled onions, and cilantro.
Pair your sandwich with one of the local and regional beers available on tap, as well as in bottles and cans. There’s also a dedicated cider line, so there is always a gluten-free option for customers. All told, there are over 40 beers and ciders to choose from, as well as wine. During the daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., take advantage of $4 pints and $2 off wine, as well as the $11 pint and tacos deal.
Wiegmann and Therkelsen were planning to start a food truck when they were approached about taking over the Nicollet. Therkelsen had worked there when it was Acadia, and the timing felt right. Wiegmann divides her time between her job at a public arts nonprofit and the restaurant, while Therkelsen is there full-time.
Reverie opens at 7 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends. Closing time varies nightly, depending on when the music ends, but no later than 1 a.m.
Reverie Café & Bar
1931 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis