Dunn Bros. in Anoka has established itself in the city for more than a decade, attracting a steady stream of regulars who stop in for their caffeine fix.
But the cozy coffee shop on St. Francis Boulevard is going through a transformation.
November brought some changes with the additions of a Provisions Bakery and Café, expanding the shop’s food offerings with fresh made fare including sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries.
This was quickly followed by the addition of craft beer and wines to the menu.
Making food fresh on site is consistent with the Dunn Bros. philosophy. Coffee beans are roasted on site at Dunn Bros. locations – a rare practice in area coffee shops.
“We are a different kind of coffee shop and for some people that is really important,” said Anthony Bell, who co-owns the Anoka location, along with one in Maple Grove.
His business partners are Jeff and Vicki Zierden and their daughter Megan.
“I’ve been here since this place was a concrete slab,” said Bell, who has spent more than a decade in the coffee business – something he is passionate about. A California transplant who has lived in Minnesota since 2001, he started out as a manager at the location and eventually bought into the business back in 2006.
All Dunn Bros. coffee shops are independently owned, most often by people who live in the community, said Bell.
The company was started back in 1987.
Lately Bell’s time has been devoted to making sure the new café part of the business is running smoothly and his staff are comfortable making the new food offerings. The Provisions Bakery and Cafe opened at the Anoka store Nov. 12.
“I’m excited to see what this does to our traffic at night,” said Bell. “We’re pretty busy in the morning, but I’m excited to see us as a destination in the evening.”
Bell said that while the previous pastry menu items tasted good, “not a lot of pride goes into thawing out a frozen muffin.”
Now those baristas who are already adept at handcrafting coffee drinks are also building sandwiches and salads from fresh ingredients and baking pastries on site.
Seeing his regular customers head out the door with a breakfast item in hand, Bell said he is seeing early success with the cafe menu.
“Actually making a sandwich and bringing it to the table when five minutes ago it was just a bunch of ingredients is great,” he said.
Overwhelming at first, Bell said he wishes he had added the café years ago.
As for offering beer and wine, it now seems like a natural fit.
“It was something we thought about doing two years ago, but it didn’t make a lot of sense then,” said Bell.
But once the Provisions menu had been made available, it was the logical next step.
A self-confessed beer snob, Bell said he and another fellow beer aficionado had fun putting together the current selections. All are craft beers with no mass produced domestic choices allowed. He is hoping to add more Minnesota brewed varieties in the future.
The wine list was put together with the help of a distributor and designed to complement the food menu.
Being able to order up a beer or a glass of wine fills a void between staying home or having a night out at noisy bar, said Bell.
“There aren’t a lot of options like this in the area,” he said. Someplace where you can have a drink and enjoy conversation without having to shout over a band or DJ.
“The whole idea is not to turn into a bar,” said Bell. “We’re not changing our hours. We’re not adding taps. The craft beer scene is a lot like the coffee scene. There’s a fun element to it.”
Bell enjoys the coffee industry in general and likes to visit other coffee shops in the Twin Cities, he said.
“I like the people here and we are literally family owned,” said Bell. “I think that adds a special element and makes each store really different.”
Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]