After being dark for more than a year, two prime food-and-drink spots in downtown Minneapolis are coming back to life.
The father-and-son duo of David and Eli Fhima, operators of Fhima's Minneapolis (40 S. 7th St., Mpls.) are taking over the two former Peace Coffee locations in the Capella Tower (225 S. 6th St.) and launching Mother Dough.
"We want to double down on downtown, especially with the bad press that it's been getting lately," said Eli Fhima. "We have such strong ties to the downtown community; it has such a special place in our hearts."
Food menus will be the same at both locations, but the difference is that on the ground floor — which should be up and running by mid-October — the beverages will move beyond coffee and tea to include beer and wine.
The kitchen will produce salads, sandwiches on house-baked breads (including baguette, challah and brioche), hummus and other small-plate options plus an assortment of grab-and-go items. The on-site bakery will turn out croissants, Danish pastries, éclairs, muffins, cookies and other baked goods. The Fhimas are partnering with Folly Coffee of St. Louis Park for coffee beverages (including a custom medium-dark roast with hints of chocolate and walnut) and Wesley Andrews of Minneapolis for tea.
The ground-level counter setup is adjacent to an existing lobby lounge. On the skyway, the plan is to give a storefront a Parisian-inspired transformation, designed by Kwadwo Boadi-Aboagye of Minneapolis-based Infinite Group. Construction is set to begin soon, with a mid-November opening targeted.
As for the Mother Dough name, it's a nod to the sourdough starter that has been nourished by the Fhima family for more than a century.
"My great-grandmother gave that starter dough to my father before he went away to boarding school in Geneva, and he's been caring for it ever since," said Eli Fhima. "We're looking forward to bringing it to the front and center of our bakery, and carrying on that legacy in our breads and pastries."
This has been a big week for the Fhima family. Not only because of the announcement of Mother Dough, but because their Fhima's Minneapolis — located in the Forum Cafeteria space in the City Center complex, a priceless Art Deco landmark — celebrated its third anniversary.
"My grandmother is 73, she just moved from Morocco to Israel," said Eli Fhima. "This news will put a smile on her face, knowing that the starter is getting the respect that it deserves and a location all its own."