The local coffee shop has evolved greatly over the last 20 years. There was a time when independent coffee shops were the only game in town. And then the chains came. The chains like Starbucks and Caribou and Dunn Bros. took over existing spaces and opened new ones – all with the aim of grabbing our coffee dollars. For a while, the outlook for independents was bleak – a David vs. Goliath kind of story. But after the initial big chain novelty and a depression for the mom & pop coffee shop, something magical has happened. Something that we couldn’t have even deemed possible just a few short years ago: the rebirth of the independent coffee shop.
Some intrepid Davids have started to figure out how to co-exist with their Goliaths. As a coffee fiend, I couldn’t be happier. I’m never going to bash coffee chains because I actually enjoy most of them, but there is something special about an independently owned, neighborhood coffee shop.
For a while, I sort of had the best of both worlds in the Minnetonka Mills Dunn Bros. location. Yes, it was part of a chain – but it also had character and lots of local flavor. I never felt as though I was in a coffee chain while there. Plus I live just a couple of minutes away. It was my local coffee shop.
But then the bad news – that Dunn Bros. location was moving to Hopkins. The new location would only be a couple of minutes further away, but it sure did seem like many miles. Getting to the new location would mean a special trip as opposed to visiting a business that feels like part of the community. That bad news was eclipsed by the news of a replacement coffee shop – and this time, one that would not be a chain.
It took longer than expected, but Creekside Coffee finally opened up in August. More importantly, it features ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s – arguably the best in the Twin Cities. Ever since I moved to the Western Suburbs, I lamented the lack of a real ice cream shop. Dairy Queen just didn’t count. I need ice cream that involves scooping. So no more trips to Uptown or Linden Hills for me. I now had my own Sebastian Joe’s.
So let me run this down for you. Creekside Coffee renovated the already charming space once occupied by Dunn Bros. In addition to roasting their own beans (a nice touch leftover from DB), they are serving amazing ice cream (20 flavors in the summertime, less options the rest of the year). But wait, there is more. A couple of weeks ago, they started serving homemade baked goods. That’s right – like any local coffee shop should. Scones, cinnamon rolls, muffins – all homemade. I even saw homemade quiche and oatmeal in the display case. And free Wi-Fi – I guess you gotta have that these days.
Even better is the friendly attitude of the staff and their willingness to get to know me. From those early summer visits for ice cream to my coffee runs now, they have been both welcoming and accommodating.
Creekside Coffee is the kind of place that used to dominate the coffee landscape, so I’m thrilled that it opened in my neigborhood. House-roasted coffee, homemade baked goods, and Sebastian Joe’s ice cream are quite the hat trick and tough to beat anywhere else in the Twin Cities.
12934 Minnetonka Blvd
Minnetonka, MN 55305