When the Common Roots Cafe opened in the Uptown neighborhood in 2007, it immediately transformed almost one acre of paved land into a garden. That garden now includes 10 raised beds, and the kitchen staff harvests nearly 1800 pounds of food each year from that small piece of land. This food is transformed into seasonal specials and sold at the cafe. Tours of this garden to demonstrate small-scale, pesticide-free, urban agriculture are available, and Cafe owner Danny Schwartzman encourages everyone in his community to take a quick walk through the space and to personally see which produce is in season.
Through the Common Roots Cafe, Schwartzman and his wife practice their values. They support local farmers and track every purchase to ensure they are operating an environmentally sustainable business model. 100% of their meat and milk purchases are local, and almost all of their cheese is both local and organic.
The Schwartzman's are the pioneers behind an "All Are Welcome Here" campaign. After they began to notice a disturbing increase in gender-based discrimination in small businesses across the United States, they placed a placard in their window announcing that everyone is welcome to enter, regardless of race, class, or gender identification. This initiated a movement, and it caught the attention of the Main Street Alliance. The YouTube clip below is an interview with Danny and Alana, and their story of the effort to improve their community.
Of equal importance is how they treat their staff. As of 2017, they instituted a tip-free policy and guaranteed higher wages to all staff. Paid time off and access to healthcare are also provided.
Healthier ingredients create tastier and fresher food. Although the menu is simple, the bagels and bread are housemade, and the local flavor translates into a nourishing and fulfilling meal. Common Roots Cafe has earned four out of five stars on Yelp, and the food is crafted to create a photogenic plate. The space includes an outside patio aligned with foliage and flowers, and of course, to accommodate the Minneapolis winters, the inside seating area is open and warm. Common Roots Cafe is a definite “Must” on any traveler’s Minneapolis checklist.
Cover image credit: Ammarketing via Pixabay.