When Melanie Logan was scoping out places for her
Blue Ox Coffee Company
concept, she was immediately drawn to a storefront space at 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis.
area reminds her of the small Pennsylvania town where she grew up.
She was also attracted to it because she wanted to try to fill a void in
"a neighborhood that's lacking," at least as far as coffee shops go.
Stebnitz, the principal of Stillwater Companies, recently renovated the
complex, which is close to another recent rehab, the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center
, a hub for sculptural welding, blacksmithing, glasswork, and jewelry making.
It's a key intersection that ties together the Powderhorn, Central,
Bancroft, and Bryant neighborhoods. Previously, some of the storefronts
had been vacant and boarded up for up to 40 years. "This was a notorious
intersection in the neighborhood," she says, adding that in recent
times, "my friends have seen a huge improvement."
The Blue Ox
shares a 1925-vintage two-story building with an empty restaurant space
and handful of apartments, while an adjacent one-story structure is home
to Covet Consign & Design
, The Third Place
(the photography studio and gallery of artist Wing Young Huie), and the Fox Egg Gallery
the space, a counter is still being built, but most of the rest of the construction
is wrapping up. Original plaster and hardwood floors are intact, while
several shades of blue on the walls and metal accents give the place an
industrial feel. The build-out for the coffee shop totals about $80,000.
A minimalist style defines the space, which is furnished with
used white Formica tables, black chairs (new), and rescued church pews.
"We want it to be an inviting environment," Logan says.
will feature many certified organic and "direct trade" coffee beans. Baked goods come from Patisserie 46
while sandwiches will be made in-house.
Logan plans to open the place by the end of the month. Already she's been
getting plenty of positive feedback. "Most people can't wait for it to
open. I'm looking forward to it."
Source: Melanie Logan, owner, Blue Ox Coffee Company
Writer: Anna Pratt