Eureka Compass Vegan Food founder, chef, and plant-based prophet Colin Anderson's plans have changed a lot since March.
Back then, he'd closed Eureka (temporarily) after announcing a partnership with Evans Organic Eatery in the St. Paul skyway. His plan was to stay on as the chef at Evan's and eventually reopen his St. Paul restaurant—formerly a from-scratch, brand-new-menu-daily kind of place—as a vegan pizzeria.
After five months, the animal-friendly eatery will reopen this weekend at 629 Aldine St. On August 11 and 12, they'll have savory and sweet croissants and scones, fruit-packed muffins, and BBQ jackfruit or chickpea cutlet "magic tacos." There will be a few plant-based desserts and a potato and root vegetable salad.
You may have noticed there aren't any pizzas on there—and there won't be.
At least, not yet.
Anderson's interests shifted over a series of summer pop-ups. “It became very clear over the course of doing all the events at Eureka … we were beginning to see the growing awareness and interest and excitement around Eureka Compass,” he says.
For one, there was the press: City Pages and Mpls/St. Paul Mag both profiled Eureka just as the change was announced, and others started reaching out to ask about the ethos behind his little Aldine Street eatery, too. Crucially, excitement was growing within the neighborhood, a marked difference from the 10 months the restaurant was open. Anderson insists it was never a problem to get people to drive to him from outside the city—or even visit during international trips—but folks from Hamline Midway? It barely registered to them.
It was a classic Big Yellow Taxi, "don't know what you got 'til it's gone" scenario, and by the time Eureka hosted its one-year anniversary party in May, interest had swelled. The event was huge; people wanted to know if they would still be able to get croissants after the grand reopening, or if the magic tacos would be on the menu.
Anderson realized: His answer should be yes. This was where his heart was all along. He's since partnered with pal Ryan Strandjord, the guy behind Vegan Motorcycle Diaries, to bring Eureka roaring back.
At first, after some repainting and a little light construction, it'll be open weekends only, with a menu not unlike the original Eureka: an ever-shifting list of scones, muffins, croissants, magic tacos, salads, and some sort of entree. Don't worry, vegan pizza lovers: One of these days, you'll be able to get plant-packed pizzas on Thursdays through Sundays starting at around 4 p.m.
But that's not all!
Anderson's had inquiries from other restaurants interested in his dairy-free croissants and muffin batter. And soon, he'd like to debut Eureka Wholesale, moving the bulk of kitchen operations into a commercial space where he would have more of a consultant role.
The plans don't stop there: He also plans to open a corner store inside Eureka 2.0. Think Brooklyn-style bodega… just vegan. It'll have produce, sure, but also spices, coffee, flour, toilet paper, dish soap—these things are already vegan, he reasons, so why not get them from a strictly vegan business? It's also fitting: His shop was a corner store for about 50 years before it housed a string of short-lived pizzerias.
Eventually, he says Eureka will open Tuesday through Sunday, with pastries and coffee in the morning and a pre-made deli area with grab-and-go salads and sandwiches and a few hot, made-to-order lunch items that rotate every week. It'll close at 2, then reopen at 4 for pizza. Can't get out of the house? They'll bring pizza—and more—to your door.
“You can call Eureka Compass and say, ‘Can you bring me a pizza, dish soap, toilet paper, some of your chocolate chip cookies, and three frozen Amy’s burritos?’ And get that delivered to your house,” Anderson explains. And—hell, why not turn that top floor into a vegan Airbnb one of these days?
At that point—cafe by morning, pizzeria by night, delivery joint, corner market, hotel—Anderson sees it as a scalable model, one that would be especially useful in food deserts.
It is, you've no doubt noticed, kiiiind of a lot.
“That’s what we’re going to do with Eureka Compass,” Anderson says, laughing... you could say slightly maniacally. “We're only completely reimagining how impactful a vegan business can be, not just to the vegan community, but to a whole residential neighborhood."
It doesn’t have to happen all at once, or even on any kind of set timeline. But he says that feels okay. This time last year, he was running around like mad, organizing the Kickstarter to get Eureka Compass off the ground in the first place. Now, he feels he can take his time, ramping up as it makes sense. He hopes neighbors will give him feedback on what they want to see more of, what would make the model more valuable to them.
“But it starts with this first weekend, on the 11th and 12th -- making croissants and magic tacos," Anderson says.
“And the record player’s back!” he exclaims, before adding: “To quote Cracker, ‘We ain’t got no government loans, and no one sends a check from home. But get this: We're just doin' what we wanna.'”
Eureka Compass Vegan Food Grand Reopening
August 11 and 12, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Eureka Compass Vegan Food, 629 Aldine St.; 651-600-0419