Hope Breakfast Bar's owners have big plans for 2023.
Brian and Sarah Ingram are opening an Eagan location of the breakfast-centric restaurant, known for its inventive pancake and French toast creations, by spring of next year.
And that's not all. Brian Ingram says he's looking at locations in downtown Minneapolis, Edina and other suburban areas for additional expansions of the brand.
The Eagan location will be the fourth outpost for the brand since the first opened in a historic firehouse in St. Paul in 2019. There's also a Hope in St. Louis Park's West End, and an Express version at Gillette Children's Hospital.
"We've had tremendous success with it," Ingram said. "And I think it all goes back to being involved with the community and that give-back piece of what we do with Hope."
While the Ingrams' Purpose Restaurants group donates 3% of sales to charity, the Hope brand in particular is a conduit to direct help.
"We always wanted Hope to be community-driven," Ingram said. During the pandemic, it supplied food to those in need. The restaurant has been feeding Ukrainian refugees and hospitalized soldiers, he said. Revenue has gone to pay for seven funerals for people lost to gun violence. And the restaurants have offered food to homeless shelters in the communities where they are based.
The plan is to continue the specific, direct community-based outreach in the areas surrounding the new locations. Ingram selected the new Eagan site, in a former judo studio on Diffley Road, because it is adjacent to two schools and a recreational area. He's also about to launch a franchise opportunity, so Hope Breakfast Bar — and its mission — can become family-owned businesses throughout the country.
"The driving force of Hope is how do we get very embedded in the community and work diligently with that community?" Ingram said. "Yeah, we need them to be profitable so we can keep opening them and making a difference. But our goal at Hope is to give back as much as we can."
Meanwhile, Ingram is at work to open what he says is the last of his non-Hope projects for a while. Spring Break, a nostalgia-fueled homage to the MTV shows from the '90s and early '00s about sun-soaked college parties, is on track to open across from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul by April.
"We just want it to feel like you're on spring break and you're having fun," he said.
The Ingrams also recently opened the Apostle Supper Club at a neighboring site.
But that's all for now, as they shift gears into Hope's expansion.
"All I do is write restaurant concepts when I can't sleep at night," Ingram said. But if he tries to open any more, he says, "my wife will kill me."