Well the warm weather came a few days too late for the grand opening of Up Cafe. But still we had a great event.
See what you missed? Great great food. I ate way to much and know where my Monday lunches will be coming from during the CSA delivery season.
It was more then just food though.
Up Cafe uses Joel’s pottery for their service. All are also available for purchase. At the opening Joel demonstrated his craft.
Woodshop, a great local band, just happens to be made up entirely of employees of Upper Midwest Gourmet.
I spoke with David Chall, owner of Upper Midwest Gourmet and Up Cafe. He is passionate about his work. He has owned Upper Midwest Gourmet for 20 years and started right out of college. He opened the Fine Grind in St. Paul and later 128 Cafe. He shared that he actually wanted to be a jeweler but his budget allowed him to open a coffee shop. “For our final project [in school] we had to write a business plan. One of the girls wanted to do a coffee shop so I had a business plan for a coffee shop and $17,000.
He recalled when Chai Tea hit the U.S. market in 1996 and no one knew what it was or how to pronouce it. He said that the cafe was a great testing ground for new products. And so his new offering, Up Cafe is continuing the tradition. In the back warehouse coffee roasters roast amazing fair trade coffees. Allen one of the roasters told me, fair trade is about making sure that the appropriate people get paid a liveable wage. “we pay a premium. . .we pay more to make sure they get paid.” While fair trade is an idea it is also a brand, that requires the farms to pay for certification. “We care more about closeness,” Allen said, “when we are close to the farm and know what they do we know that some small farms may not be able to afford it [certification].”
So now Up Cafe is a great way to promote an idea of great food and sustainability. It is also an opportunity for other small cafes and coffee shops to learn how to make great sustainable food for their customers to enjoy.