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Food & Drink

Coffee News: Boiler Room Returns, Bootstrap Rebrands and Expands, Disco Death Records Lives

A trio of caffeinated news stories to kick off your week.

disco death's silver, metal exterior (with a little motor bike parked out front and a sign reading "coffee here!")
Bryan Frank

Has there always been this much coffee news in the Twin Cities or is this recent stretch something noteworthy? We just highlighted a half-dozen brand-new coffee shops and cafes, and now there’s a bunch more. 

Anyway. Let’s get right into it!

Credit: Instagram: @boilerroommpls

Boiler Room Coffee to return as The Boiler Room Coffee Co.

A Stevens Square favorite is making a quick comeback. John Kiel and Andrew Clarkson signed all the closing documents on the business last week; the partners are officially the new owners of Boiler Room Coffee. “When they closed down, we both separately were like, ‘I wonder if we could buy this.’ And then a couple days later: ‘Could we just like, buy the Boiler Room? Is that a thing we could do?’” Clarkson laughs. “It surely is a thing we could do.” 

They’re changing the name ever so slightly, from “Boiler Room Coffee” to “The Boiler Room Coffee Co.” (Everyone called it “The Boiler Room” instead of its given name under its previous owner, Michael Graca.) Otherwise, they’re not changing much—an AC upgrade, redoing the floor—all of the little stuff that matters in a coffee shop, but that the average person might not notice. “It’s not quite Boiler Room 2.0, I’d say Boiler Room 1.1,” Kiel says. 

After all, Graca didn’t close the coffee shop because he was struggling, “He just wanted to spend more time with his kids!” Clarkson says. “Which is kind of the best reason you could have for closing a business.” The pair are hiring now; you can find more info about that on their website.

The Boiler Room Coffee Co.
1830 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis
Opening September 1

Credit: Instagram: @discodeathrecords

Disco Death Records combines coffee, records, and a film lab (!) under one Wedge roof

In another comeback of sorts, Joel Eckerson and Colin Wilkinson of the pandemic-shuttered south Minneapolis record shop Dead Media have a new shop near 26th and Lyndale—this time with coffee and in-house film lab. They’ve partnered with Jordan Enger at the Basement Lab to create a one-stop shop of analog goodness: “We all met up, and we figured out we can make a real cool space happen with all three elements,” Wilkinson says.

Eckerson, Wilkinson, and Enger are all into more old-school things—records, tube-based receivers, shooting film—and they figured they’re not the only ones. “We wanted to create a more communal space centered around these analog mediums, for people to come in, listen to music, drink great coffee, and talk photos, music,” Enger says.

“Even our espresso machine is different from a lot of other places—a Victoria Arduino hand-crank machine… It’s definitely a more classic Italian thing,” adds Wilkinson. “That’s even more to our aesthetic, of who we are.”

Records are on the left-hand wall, plants and tables line the right, with the “speakeasy film lab” in the back. And the coffee is inventive too: On their Satanic specialty drinks menu (each priced at $6.66), the Daemon blends coffee with cherry, cardamom, and pistachio orgeat, while horchata, maple, and bitters lend an extra depth of flavor to cold brew in the Satan.

Disco Death Records
721 W. 26th St., Minneapolis
7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily

Credit: Backstory Coffee Roasters

Bootstrap is now Backstory Coffee Roasters, and they’re opening a new North Loop cafe

The first time I talked to Micah Svejda about Bootstrap Coffee, the roastery he launched from his dad’s garage with a second-hand roaster fetched from Iowa in a U-Haul, he didn’t have a brick-and-mortar and sold coffee mainly through a booming online business. A lot has changed since then: “As a company, we have grown over the last eight years,” Svejda tells Racket. “We thought the name was something we had really outgrown.” Their team is much bigger, and in 2019, they opened a charming St. Paul coffee shop and roastery.

It was time for the name to reflect that growth, so, working with Superwell Co-creative, Svejda and co. landed on a new one: Backstory Coffee Roasters. “Backstory really points to our human desire to tell stories—we make sense of the world through stories, and we’re able to foster understanding and deeper connections through telling our stories, and stories in general,” he says. And not only does every person have a story, but every coffee does as well. Who grew it? How did those beans get to Backstory’s roastery and into your cup? These are stories they look forward to telling more and more as the company grows and expands into the future. 

The first step in that growth? A new North Loop coffee bar in the lobby of the newly renovated Duffey building. The second Backstory Coffee Roasters will serve the same drink menu as the St. Paul coffee shop (batch brews, pour-overs, espresso beverages, cold brew and rotating seasonal specialty beverages) along with a small menu of pastries, plus hot sandwiches and grab-and-go-items, a new offering this time around. And the sign was painted by Minneapolis’s own Forrest Wozniak, whose stellar work you’ve seen… all over the place!

Backstory Coffee North Loop
528 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis (in the Duffey building)
Opens fall 2022