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Mpls. coffee shop adds 2nd location, touts cheeky 'Starbucks PSL' look-alike

 

 

Big Watt Cold Beverage Co. continues to expand, debuting its second Five Watt coffee shop in northeast Minneapolis last week, and broadening its offerings to include food, beer, wine and low-proof cocktails.

The new iteration, in the Miller Textile Building at 861 E. Hennepin Av., offers the same craft coffee drinks that Five Watt gained a reputation for, as well as new, playful sippers — such as the cheekily named Venti Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, which arrives in a 20-ounce paper cup that the shop created specifically for it, complete with a mound of house-made cinnamon whipped cream.

“We’re just waiting until [Starbucks] hits us with the cease and desist letter and then we’re going to call it the Pumpkin Spice Lawsuit,” co-owner Lee Carter said.

“It’s actually really good,” he added. “I am kind of upset about how much I like it.”

Meanwhile, they plan to roll out low-proof cocktails this week with a Midori Collins, a sake-coffee mashup and a nitro-infused apple liqueur sour — topped with pop rocks. Food options include paninis and a handful of hot dogs, such as the Gochujang piled with slaw, Sriracha and cilantro.

Carter and co-founder Caleb Garn opened Five Watt's original location in the Kingfield neighborhood in 2014. Soon after, they and partner Jason Westplate began expanding to make cold press cans and later, cocktail bitters.

 

The new location will keep several of the staple specialty drinks that played a big role in elevating the Twin Cities' craft coffee scene. The Big Easy — cold press with chicory and nutmeg simple syrup and black walnut bitters, and The Kingfield — espresso with vanilla, coriander bitters and black sea salt — both make the move.

"The Kingfield, that's our classic," Carter said. "People come from all over to get it."

Here's a twist: Minneapolis chef replaced by chef he replaced

Ten years after taking over the kitchen at Sanctuary, chef Patrick Atanalian has moved on.

“Michael [Kutscheid, the restaurant’s owner and host extraordinaire] and I have decided to part ways,” he said. “It’s cool. Michael and I are still great friends, and the restaurant is a little gem, a little diamond.”

Over the past decade, the native of Marseille, France, has made the dinner-only restaurant a destination not only for pre- and post-Guthrie dining, but for an audience that embraced Atanalian’s artful, post-fusion cooking.

His current menu features such dishes as marlin with orange mashed potatoes and blue cheese-infused hoisin sauce, pork tenderloin with blueberry-bacon marmalade and tuna tartare with mandarin gel and Tabasco-chocolate ganache, a remarkable output given the kitchen’s cramped quarters.

“After 10 years, the kitchen was just getting too small for me,” he said. “After a while, there is only so much you can do.”

Atanalian (pictured, above, in a 2014 Star Tribune file photo) also pioneered the value-priced tasting menu. In its current form it's a five-course, $35 spread.

So far, Atanalian's plans are up in the air.

“I don’t know what I’ll be doing,” he said. “We’ll see. Right now I’m just seeing what’s up. If someone has something for me in Chicago, I’ll go to Chicago, or Los Angeles. Or I’ll stay here in the Twin Cities. I don’t know yet.”

Oct. 14 was his last day.

“It was time for a change for Patrick,” said Kutscheid. “He’s one of my best friends on earth, and I will always love him. I know that we’ll resurface together, somewhere, sometime.”

Atanalian’s replacement? Get this: it’s Gary Stenberg, the chef Atanalian replaced 10 years ago.

“What’s that saying? ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression,’ something like that?” asked Kutscheid. “Well I think Gary has just violated that rule. This is one of those circular things that you don’t see coming until it’s right there, like last Sunday’s Vikings win.”

Will the restaurant change? Sure. But not radically, said Kutscheid.

“I think about it this way,” he said. “If you filled a refrigerator with odds and ends and turned them over to Gary and Patrick, they would both make an incredible four-course dinner. Patrick’s might be more esoteric and exotic, and Gary’s might be more rustic, and comfortable and genuine.”

Stenberg’s first menu will debut Nov. 4.

And yes, fans of the restaurant, the $35 tasting menu — offered Monday through Thursday —will remain.

“We’ll never stop that,” said Kutscheid. “We’re so well-known for it.”

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