Lavvu Coffee House (pronounced LAH-voo) is now open in Dinkytown, just off 35W at 4th Street in SE Minneapolis.
A Lavvu is the tipi-like dwelling shown in the shop’s logo. They were the temporary dwellings used by the Sami (pronounced SAH mee), the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia. Lavvu is the only Sami-themed coffee shop in North America. It features Sami art, informational displays, a variety of traditional Sami gifts, imported preserves, and a lavvu model (shown here), which my two boys had a blast hanging out in. Oh, yeah, and they have coffee and waffles.
While the coffee and waffles aren’t traditional Sami, they are darn good. The coffee comes from Flamenco, a local roaster of organic beans. The waffle options are mostly sweet, with a couple savory (or, at least less sweet) options. We tried one with peanut butter and preserves (lingonberry, imported from Sweden) and another with whipped cream and cinnamon. The waffles are golden on the outside, tender inside, and the toppings don’t overwhelm. They were a great mid-morning snack, and perfect companions to a cup of dark roast. One son gave them two bouncing, dancing, thumbs up, while the other declared they were “the best I’ve ever tasted.” He’s seven, though, and has a short memory, so perhaps not the most reliable narrator.
Formerly in the Northtown mall, Lavvu is finding the university neighborhood much more interested in the Sami theme, plus more central for the out-of-towners who seek them out. For now, parking is a challenge; they’re hoping to get a few dedicated spots by this fall. Most of their clientele is on foot or two wheels, so if you’re coming by car, it may take a few minutes to find a spot.
Most of the time you’ll see owner Chris Pesklo or manager Jessica Carney behind the counter. Starting this week, they’re running a morning special from 8 to 11 a.m. with $1 drinks, alongside their other special of $4.95 for a waffle and cup of coffee. So if you’re interested in checking out a new place with a unique theme, this is a great time to do it.
Lavvu Coffee House
813 4th Street SE, Mpls.
Open daily: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.