The cozy neighborhood cafe is part of the life in the city experinece that should not go unnoticed. Fortunately, Minneapolis is filled with great little third places tucked into neighborhoods that invite trust and neighborhood identity.
A "third place" is a home away from home. It is the third place in our lives made up mostly of 1) home, 2) work and then 3) the third place we go most frequently for comfort, solice and joyful entertainment.
In Italy, the third place is a coffee bar or cafe where the patrons know the barista and talk with eachother about everything from politics to opera to soccer. In England the "third place" is the neighborhood pub where young and old alike gather and in France it is the bistro.
At one time (okay old timer tell us), we had the barber shop or beauty salon and the corner drug store and soda fountain as our comfy third place but all across America these common public institutions have disappeared, epsecially in big cities.
Presently, in America it is less clear where the third place exists outisde the home. But in Seward neghborhood, a simple frontrunner has emerged: Birchwood Cafe. Set on a residental street, the cafe used to be an old ice cream store, diary deli and corner hang out. The chef founders of Birchwood have captured this legacy and keep it alive. They also serve IZZY's ice cream.
But Birchwood, and its organic whole food veggie leanings is totally modern and grabs the hipster character of Sewards young and first home buyer jive.
Expect to find a variety of wholesome salads, soups, stews and sandwiches made on hearty artisan breads. And the selection of deserts is also awesome. When you order at Birchwood, it is deli-style, so you assemble items from their case a la carte but they also have a list of daily specials.
Once you've placed your order, customers sit down cafeteria style in tables lined up, seemingly to encourage neighbors to talk about their children, the playground down the street or the daily news.