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Food & Drink

Peek Inside SunBean, Standish-Ericsson’s Newest Coffee Shop

The shop's got warm vibes, SAD lamps, and a Bull's Horn-made breakfast sandwich.

Back in 2017, when Bull's Horn Food & Drink set up shop inside the old Sunrise Inn bar, its block of 34th Avenue in south Minneapolis was made up of mostly empty storefronts. Darkened windows, drab brown brick—it was kind of bleak over there (not that it felt out of step with Bull's Horn's reborn-dive vibe).

But over the last few years, that stretch of retail spaces has been quietly coming to life. These days, there's a newish barbershop, Freshly Cut, and a cheery blue and red paint job has spruced the storefront of woman-owned screenprint shop The Bitter Buffalo, which relocated to Standish-Ericsson from Northeast. In February, SunBean Coffee opened its doors, satisfyingly slotting into the long-empty space at 4553 34th Ave. S. like a final puzzle piece.

Em Cassel

SunBean comes from co-owners Fred and Annie DuBose, who back in August told Racket they wanted to create the kind of place they wanted to visit: none of this ordering through an app and wordlessly grabbing your coffee from the counter business. “People need human connection... we want people to come and connect with other people,” Annie said.

They were doing just that when I popped into SunBean for a latte earlier this month. Over the span of an hour or so, more than one neighbor waiting for their coffee asked Fred about the shop's origins, outwardly delighted to see something brightening this address again.

(The short version of that origin story: Fred had a longtime dream of opening a coffee shop, and after nearly two decades working in youth development with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, he left in 2019 to launch SunBean; after some Covid-related fits and starts, here they are.)

Em Cassel

Step inside, over the "bee our guest” doormat, and you'll be greeted by the coffee counter on the left. There are three bar seats by the front window, another three by along the coffee bar, and three more—outfitted with SAD lamps—across from that counter. A table in the shop's rear is backdropped by a colorful waterfall mural and plants; they're hoping to have outside seating once it warms up for real.

SunBean serves your standard lattes and macchiatos and what have you, along with specialty drinks. I opted for the sunshine-yellow superfood latte, with a sweet and gently earthy flavor. There's also a selection of Fruit & Grain pop-tarts and hand pies. And there's a breakfast sammy made in collaboration with Bull's Horn chef/owner Doug Flicker, which Fred says came about when the two were chatting about what food Sunbean would offer.

"Doug, being the chef that he is, said, 'Hey, I think I can probably put something together for ya,'" Fred chuckles. The result is a turkey sausage sandwich with fresh egg and American cheese on a toasted English muffin. (You're gonna want to order one.)

It really is the neighborhoody coffee shop the DuBoses long dreamed of opening, with the whole block uniting to make something special (and delicious) together.

Sunbean Coffee
Address: 4553 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Hours: Monday - Saturday: 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Closed Sundays.

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