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Food & Drink

Inside The Briar, Northeast’s Adorable New Neighborhood Coffee Shop

After years of work, an old art gallery is now the home of a very good egg salad sandwich.

10:02 AM CST on November 15, 2022

An overhead shot of two plates and two iced coffees at The Briar
Em Cassel|

We love breakfast, don’t we folks?

A new neighborhood cafe opens this week in Northeast's Logan Park neighborhood. And it's great!

From the outside, the old Sosin and Sosin Art Gallery building (1231 Washington St. NE, Minneapolis) looks simple enough: It's a dark, blue-gray box planted at the corner of Washington and 13th. An ornate wooden door is your first sign that wonderful things await inside. The Briar team started working on the building roughly two years ago, taking the thing practically down to the studs, and the result is a cozy-but-modern coffee shop made for whiling away the hours.

The shop opens Thursday (find week-one hours here), and said hello to the neighborhood with a bustling soft opening this weekend. Entering the space, you're greeted by the bar to the left, where baristas buzz about preparing drinks and a few folks sit on stools enjoying breakfast. A dozen-ish round tables fill out the dining room, with booths along Washington Street, including one that's situated in front of a wide picture window. (We snagged this spot without hesitating.)

An external view of the Briar's space, which is painted dark blue and boxy.
Instagram: @thebriarbar

The Dahlia team was popping up back by the kitchen this weekend, where they served an array of savory tarts and cookies to pair with The Briar's coffees, teas, and specialty drinks. But The Briar also has its own menu of light fare ($7.50-$10) and sandwiches ($11-$13), along with a selection of a la carte cheeses.

We settled into our very good booth, sipped iced oat milk lattes ($6 for a small), and took in the space as we waited for breakfast to emerge from the open kitchen. (In an especially gen z/bisexual-friendly move, The Briar's coffee drinks are served with your choice of oat or soy—no cow-derived liquids are listed on the menu.) The walls are painted a deep emerald green, with stylish shelving displaying coffee equipment, glassware, records, and more.

Before long—super quickly, in fact, given The Briar's busy-ness and the fact that this was a soft open—our eggy delights arrived, accompanied by charming Briar-branded napkins. There was a piping-hot, fluffy frittata ($8.50) from the light fare menu, and a K'evan Keen egg salad ($11) from the sandwich menu. Everything reeked beautifully of dill.

This was above-average coffee shop fare. The frittata, topped with chili oil and crumbled chips and decorated with a swab of honey, hid sweet golden beets and puffs of mascarpone inside for a flavorful, textural treat that evolved from bite to bite. The K'evan Keen, meanwhile, was served open-faced, like one of my favorite egg salad sandwiches in town (yes i’ve got one: the Fork & Knife Egg Salad at The Monte Carlo). You’ll mimic the Briar’s big-mouthed logo as you chow down on it, its base of pickles snapping as a bed of potato chips wait to catch the falling egg ensemble.

It was all very, very enjoyable. And! There's a patio outside—the tables and chairs were patiently piled up this weekend waiting for warmer weather—which I can't wait to plop down and do crosswords on while enjoying more egg sandwiches this spring.

The Briar
1231 Washington St. NE, Minneapolis
Opening Thursday; week one hours here

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