Schwan’s Co. has found its sweet spot in the North Loop of Minneapolis.
The Marshall-based company, known for frozen pizzas and yellow-green delivery trucks, will open its Edwards Dessert Kitchen in the renovated Lowry-Morrison building, on Washington Avenue and 2nd Avenue N., this summer.
The eatery is the first retail concept for the company, which will also use it as a test kitchen to explore recipes and products.
“Unapologetic indulgence is really what we are about here,” Stacey Fowler, Schwan’s senior vice president of product innovation, said in an interview.
“Immersing ourselves and just really having that day-to-day interaction with customer feedback will help our thinking and make us more well-rounded,” she said.
Visitors won’t find any Schwan’s branded products, like its assortment of Edwards pies, at the shop. Inside the store, the only clue about the company’s connection will likely be the Edwards cursive E that will be on staff shirts.
“We want to make sure that this stays pure and becomes a source of inspiration to us,” Fowler said.
What will be on the menu, dreamed up by general manager and executive pastry chef Christina Kaelberer, will be rich dishes such as coconut cream pie puffs filled with mango curd, passion fruit chocolate mousse, and curried scotcheroos meant to be a modern throwback to the tasty dessert bars served in Minnesota church basements.
Despite the elaborate recipes, Kaelberer, who grew up in St. Louis Park before she went on to work in restaurants across the country, said she wants the dessert kitchen to feel inclusive. “We want everyone to feel like they belong here,” she said.
There will also be ice cream, a handful of entree items, coffee from St. Paul-based True Stone Coffee Roasters and cocktails developed with the help of local Tattersall Distilling.
The three-story Lowry and Morrison building, which is one of the oldest surviving structures in the warehouse historic district, had been boarded up and derelict for years.
The brick and timber building, which is about 20,000 square feet including the basement, will also be home to InVision Optical and recently signed landscape firm Coen + Partners, said JoAnna Hicks, co-founder of the Element commercial real estate company which is responsible for leasing.
Kaelberer, who is part of the Schwan’s Chef Collective, said the search for the location had taken about a year.
“We kept passing by the space,” she said.
Last week, the floors were sanded in the shop. While new windows and tile have been installed, a lot of the building’s existing architecture has remained. Brick arches that split the space will now separate the daytime desserts counter from the bar. One of the brick walls is also left exposed.
Minneapolis-based Shea Inc. designed the space to have modern furniture, including a large communal table and jewel-toned lounge seating.