Building a stronger Midway

The (coffee) brewing district of Saint Paul


As the weather cools down, not much sounds better than a warm cup of coffee on a patio. And lately, there’s been a lot more options in and around the Midway. Here are some new (and old) places to check out.
Abogados Café has received a lot of media attention after its recent opening. The coffee shop bills itself as the only lawyer-themed coffee shop in America and is located in the same building as the law firm, Ceiba Forte. The two are related, as the husband-wife team of Inti Martinez-Aleman and Ofelia Ponce own and operate both the law firm and coffee shop. “Abogados” means “lawyer” in Spanish and the decorations are Latino in culture, a nod to not only the coffee served but also the heritage of the owners. Location: 1052 Dale Street. Order: Fearless Lawtte (cayenne and cinnamon)
Traveling farther down Dale to University you’ll find Flava Café. Operating in the new NDC building, Shaunie Grigsby is the owner of Frogtown’s first Black-owned coffee shop. A general benefit corporation, Flava is a “social enterprise community café invested in offering quality coffee, food, service and programming that eliminates disparities for young women of color and gender expansive youth one latte at a time.” Location: 623 University Ave. Order: Nina Simone – espresso, dark chocolate, whipped cream, chocolate sauce.
Heading to a meeting recently at Vandalia Tower, I stopped at the coffee shop located on the first floor, SK Coffee. Voted Minnesota’s Best Coffee House in 2021 in a Star Tribune readers poll, the coffee is brewed right at Vandalia Tower, but has a much larger reach as it can be found at Kowalski’s and co-ops, and is a rotating roaster in other parts of the country including at shops in Chicago and Park City, Utah. SK Coffee opened in April 2021 by owner Sam Kjellberg. Location: 550 Vandalia Ave. Order: Spicy Latte
While new coffee shops have opened, I don’t want to forget about our old favorites. I’m thankful they survived the pandemic and customers can once again dine in. Dogwood Coffee, Gingko, Groundswell, Workhorse, and Golden Thymes are all going strong and have been important members of our community for years.
With its many taprooms, the Midway can be called the brewery district of Saint Paul; with our number of wonderful and unique locally owned coffee shops, it is also emerging as the coffee brewing district.


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