Wellness isn’t just part of the business plan for Coconut Whisk.
Bella Lam started the vegan and gluten-free brand while she was studying community health education at Mankato State University. Ever since she took a life-changing yoga class, the Vietnam-born, Minnesota-raised entrepreneur has followed a personal development path. “That was the first time that spirituality made sense to me,” explains Lam. “It was all about mind, body, and spirit.”
She embraced the closely aligned core principles of veganism a few years later, and started toying with Coconut Whisk’s signature baking mixes because she saw a void in the market for vegan-tinged versions of Betty Crocker.
After several years of perfecting their product line and landing deals with distributors and more than 50 stores, Lam and partner Myles Olson had an unforeseen opportunity present itself: Coconut Whisk Café. Rather than rely solely on State Fair-esque variations of their best-selling pancake and waffle mix (“Mom’s Favorite Cereal” is a must), the brick-and-mortar devotes half of its menu to bubble tea.
Whether you prefer your boba pearls with brown sugar, matcha, or chicory-laced Vietnamese coffee, make sure they’re topped with a house-made Vegan Mylk Cloud™. Loosely inspired by Taiwan’s “cheese tea” craze, it’s essentially an ethereal version of cream cheese. The stuff’s so captivating that we ignored the strawberries and syrup that came with our mini pancakes; frankly, they didn’t need ’em.
While it’s in a prime downtown location—right across from Target on Nicollet—Coconut Whisk Café is also within blocks of where Minneapolis’ unrest occurred last year. It feels downright fitting, a beacon of bright natural light, ample seating, neon signage, and lush greenery that reflects the area’s welcome recovery. Or as Lam puts it, “I wanted to create a space that felt like a warm, welcoming, and joyful oasis in the heart of the city—something that shared a little of my heritage and culture, and the feelings of being in mother nature.”
Coconut Whisk Café, 905 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis