For decades, Birchwood Cafe has been a favorite neighborhood cafe, especially for vegans and vegetarians. They were also one of the first to promote the farm-to-table movement and demonstrate their commitment to using local, sustainable ingredients. Everything is still running smoothly, but after years of considering expansion, Brichwood's owner, Tracy Singleton, is finally starting the process.
Last night, following a landslide vote (141 "yes" to 28 "no") at the Matthews Park recreation center, the motion requested by Birchwood Cafe for the Seward Neighborhood Group to support rezoning officially passed.
Here are more details on the plan Singleton is proposing:
Some area businesses and residents opposed the plans, but Singleton is essentially seeking permission from the city of Minneapolis to rezone, changing its current R1A zoning to C1 Commercial Zoning. That would allow Singleton to add square footage to the restaurant and carry out other improvements.
In an open letter requesting community support, Singleton wrote, "I believe this is the best option as it will provide the functional space the Birchwood Cafe needs, while maintaining the current character and feel of our part of the neighborhood. The view from the street and the alley access will remain the same with more room in back to mitigate alley congestion."
If everything goes according to plan, The Birchwood would add 1,700 square feet for storage, more refrigeration, an additional bathroom, an entryway vestibule, office space, and more capacity to the dining room.