Event Tickets My Account Advertise About Us Contact Us Archive RSS Newsletters
Monday, February 17, 2014

Savvy Mom: Empire Coffee Is In, Lift Is Out on Stinson

Savvy Mom: Empire Coffee Is In, Lift Is Out on Stinson

By Kristin Boldon

Empire Coffee opened quietly in early December, taking over the renovated-garage space from Lift Coffee. The bright space and an array of coffee and espresso drinks from local B & W roasters are the same. But with new owner/sisters Chrissy and Amy Kelsch behind the counter, and product design by Liz Otremba, the shop has a definite new identity.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the carefully curated selection of baked goods. At many shops, savory options are few, with sweet options missing that critical factor of crave-ability.

I’ve visited several times, and everything I’ve tried has been excellent. A daily quiche had an ethereal custard that contrasted nicely with sturdy winter vegetables, all in a perfectly flaky crust. There’s also a gluten-free frittata, plus a biscuit sandwich and savory muffins and turnovers.

On the sweet side, there’s a great version of a sea-salt chocolate chip cookie, and the weekend brioche was to die for. During a recent visit, I tried to get my eight-year-old son to split the blueberry tart with me, but felt lucky in the end to have cadged a few bites. I also really liked the orange poppy-seed scone I tried. The texture was light and biscuity, and had a perfect level of sweetness that highlighted the orange zest without overwhelming.

In addition to the coffee, there’s a good selection of Tea Source drinks, thoughtfully displayed in glass containers for seeing and sniffing, since sometimes a description isn’t enough to do justice to a glorious mixture like Evening in Missoula. Empire also is one of the growing number of spots to offer Gray Duck Chai.

Amy trained at the French pastry school in Chicago, and relocated back to Minnesota to start the shop with her sister Chrissy, who worked for many years at B & W coffee roasters. They joked about starting their own empire, and the name of the shop was born.

For those, like me, who were sorry to see Lift go, Empire is a promising and welcome new addition to the neighborhood. It’s conveniently near the 35W ramp, and it’s been busier every time I’ve gone. It’s also right next to the Diagonal Bike Trail, so if spring ever gets here (it’s coming, right? RIGHT?) Empire will be a perfect pit stop for the bicycling crowd.

Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 in Permalink

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Add your comment:

About This Blog

TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally bring the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Minnesota Monthly Senior Editor Rachel Hutton, Sustainable Food Correspondent Marie Flanagan, Home Cook Stephanie Meyer, Chef Jason Ross, Savvy Mom Kristin Boldon, Food Writer Joy Summers, and Drinks & Real Food Senior Editor Mary Subialka. Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Sign up for our monthly dining e-blast:

MNMO Dish Sign-up

The Latest in MNMO

REVIEWS QUICK BITES
Best New Restaurants Mosaic
Icehouse Cool Primebar
Haute Hot Dogs Technique
Culinary Cloning Fika
Birdhouse Takes Flight Corner Table
Best Bars Left Handed Cook
Creative Cocktailing A Lotta Burrata


* Access all reviews here. 

restaurants Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory