Review: Groundswell Cafe

Another locally-sourced cafe, you say? In short, yes. Groundswell serves delicious, creative food made from local ingredients. But the food isn’t the only draw. Groundswell has a great, laid-back atmosphere with big wooden tables and a minimalist decor. Thanks to a recent expansion, seating is abundant both in the main room and off on the side.

Groundswell has a fantastic pastry section, with a wide selection of cupcakes topped with decadent, eye-catching frosting or their special Minnesota Nice cookies ($3). They also make custom cakes.

The food really does shine. On a recent trip for brunch, I ordered the Banana Bread French Toast ($10) and tried bites of the Breakfast Flatbread ($9) and the Biscuit and Gravy ($8). All were tasty, though some stood out above the rest.

For instance, the banana bread french toast was over-the-top chocolatey, consisting of banana bread and sliced bananas drenched in ganache. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate as much as anyone and the food was delicious, but I just wasn’t prepared for my meal to be a dessert. The flatbread, on the other hand, was a savory treat, with a strong but not overpowering pesto flavor. They also offer lunch and dinner options that look equally enticing—from a Spinach & Arugula salad ($10) to a Veggie Burger ($10). Prices are consistently around seven to ten dollars, which, while on the higher side, feels perfectly reasonable for the quality of the food.

One of the cooler parts of Groundswell, though, is the feel of the place. With lots of seating, friendly service, and pastries and coffee, it feels like a cafe or a coffee shop as much as it does a restaurant. I could easily see bringing work to study there, or just going for coffee with my friends if it was a little bit closer.

Which brings me to location. Located on Hamline and Thomas, Groundswell is a 20 minute bus ride away—not one of those places you can just end up at without prior planning. It’s not the coffee shop five minute’s walking distance from campus. But its easily accessible with enough forethought, and as such, makes it a perfect-once-every-now-and-then sort of place. Which honestly suits Groundswell perfectly.
With its limited menu, I’m not sure I’d be able to go too many times without having to get repetitive.

1340 Thomas Ave
St Paul, MN 55104