The seating area in Dogwood Coffee Shop. Photo by Meera Singh ’19.

If you have driven down Lake Street, you know that it is full of hole-in-the-wall hidden gems and unpretentious international joints. Home to Midtown Global Market, you can find anything from shawarma to pad thai. And now, the street offers one of three brick-and-mortar locations of Minnesota’s famous Dogwood Coffee. A couple of blocks west of the river and across the street from Hi-Lo Diner, the café may indicate an up-and-coming section of Lake Street. Truly a craft coffee company, Dogwood sells its beans to popular cafés and stores around the Cities. For example, Grand Central Café (a block off campus) boasts, “awesomely serving Dogwood Coffee.” The beans are available online, although at $18 for 12 ounces, I wouldn’t call them a steal. Because of the popularity of the company, I walked into Dogwood with pretty high expectations.

From the neon pink espresso machine to the clean wooden booths, the space fits the trendy vibe quintessential to Dogwood fanatics. La Croix cans and kombucha fill the cooler up front, directly below the hanging chalkboard serving as a menu. Aside from the six or seven two-person booths, only three other tables fill the middle of the shop. Yet, the noise level felt on par with Dunn Bros or the upper level of the Campus Center. Instead of enabling the productivity I sought desperately on a late Sunday afternoon, I felt constantly distracted by the conversation and movement around me. It didn’t help that Dogwood is located inside Forage, a design store filled with beautiful, modern and potentially-overpriced art, décor and furniture (ex: most of their throws are in the $200 range). I ended up spending half of my hour-long stay browsing pieces I knew would not fit into my negative account balance.

The prices at Dogwood seem to appeal to the same demographic as Forage; if you are looking for a plain, dark, inexpensive cup of coffee, Dogwood is certainly not the place. I went with a small Americano, the cheapest item on the menu at $2.50. More expensive menu items include a 10oz tea for $4, 12oz coffee for $4 and a 2oz Macchiato for $3. But if you are looking for a perfectly brewed and carefully presented drink, Dogwood’s attention to detail more than makes up for the cost. The handpicked snack selection, featuring to-die-for Rustica Bakery bittersweet chocolate cookies, perfectly complements the nuanced Dogwood brews. Rustica cookies are somewhat of a novelty in the Twin Cities, and a coffee shop that sells them earns major brownie points in my book. Lunch options are available, but in much more limited selections than a Starbucks or Caribou-type spot. Dogwood may not be the best place to write a paper, but if you want a taste of Minnesota’s best, I would recommend checking it out.

Dogwood Coffee is located at 4021 E Lake St, Minneapolis.

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