Time-pressed diners are relying upon all kinds of venues for fast breakfasts and lunches, and coffeehouse chains are only too happy to fill the void.
I'm certainly getting into the game. Along with consuming more of Caribou Coffee's egg/chicken-sausage breakfast sandwiches than I care to admit, my latest obsession is Provisions Bakery Cafe by Dunn Bros.
What a clever idea: A central commissary provides the doughs and batters, and an on-site convection oven bakes them, fresh, every day. Why put up with another forgettable, plastic-wrapped sandwich when you can enjoy a made-to-order stack of appealing, colorful ingredients layered in between bread that was baked that morning?
Franchise owner Josh Dexter launched the company's first test case, and since his attractive Eat Street shop (2544 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., www.dunnbros.com) opened in August in a former sushi bar, that oven has been working overtime, churning out not only breads but pretty pastries, sturdy scones, flavorful muffins, a nicely fudgy brownie and other treats.
Nothing I tasted should make anyone at Rustica or the Salty Tart break out in a nervous sweat, but it's all definitely several bumps above the generic fare that we've sadly come to accept from coffeehouse chains. I know that I'll be back -- tomorrow -- for a crack at the egg/turkey-bacon breakfast sandwich.
Two more Provisions have debuted in the past few months, one at 931 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, the other at 9390 N. Lexington Av. in Lexington. Another is set to open next week at 1012 Diffley Road in Eagan.
Keep going, Dunn Bros. You're on a roll.