Coffee shops dot practically every corner here in Eden Prairie. We sought out a few that are local to Eden Prairie or the metro area, which fuel not only our basic caffeine needs but are also invested in the community and their ultimate mission of bringing people together.
From the remote worker looking for a place to plug in, to shoppers, friends catching up, or students studying, there is something for everyone and every taste in both coffee and ambience at these shops.
Smith Coffee & Cafe
Practically since it was built in 1877, the historic red brick Smith Douglas More House has been a gathering place of one sort or another, beginning with travelers from the nearby railroad.
A coffee destination since 2006, it became Smith Coffee & Cafe in 2018 and has been a coffee shop staple in Eden Prairie ever since.
The scent of Smith’s in-house roasted coffee beans may be the first thing to lure customers in. The hardwood floors, dark trim and quaint wallpaper further welcome them. Multiple rooms make it easy to find a cozy corner or maybe even snag a table in front of the stained glass windows.
In addition to the homey feeling, manager Alex Schuster attributes the cafe’s unwavering popularity to their commitment to always offer excellent from-scratch food, drink, and service in a beautiful space, as well as always being welcoming to all.
They extend their hospitality to Pizza Night every Thursday evening. In addition to the ample indoor seating, a spacious patio makes Smith a popular choice year-round.
Smith Coffee and Cafe, 8107 Eden Prairie Road, is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
FRGMT Coffee, situated in the light-filled lobby of the One Southwest Crossing building, opened in 2022 and swiftly gained popularity. As one of four metro area locations, the company views itself as an integral part of each community it serves.
In contrast to the low buzz of most busy coffee shops, the hushed setting evokes the feeling of being in a posh library that also happens to serve delicious coffee. Light streams through the five-story windows, and crisp white paint mixes with dark wood columns, modern furnishings, plants, and low-slung couches and chairs to create a feeling of quiet and calm. The combination of caffeine and the grandiose interior makes one feel they could write the next Great American Novel at one of those tables or, at the very least, ace that test.
The drinks are as beautiful as the decor. According to barista Emily Auge, current popular drinks are the pepita cream cold brew, the FRGMT Fog, and all of their lattes. The multi-roaster cafe uses beans from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Ethiopia and also offers Honey and Rye Baked goods as well as salads, sandwiches and snack jars.
One of Auge’s favorite parts about working at FRGMT is the light-filled atmosphere as well as the uplifting and encouraging culture of the company. Auge said, “People come here to work, and they can feel comfortable here, almost more of a home atmosphere and an extra level of feeling comfortable with the extra space.”
She enjoys being part of customers’ daily lives and embodies the company’s goal of fostering community and serving excellent coffee.
FRGMT Coffee, 11095 Viking Drive, is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
7 Corners Coffee
Their motto, “coffee with kindness,” is immediately evident when one enters 7 Corners Coffee, located just inside Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie.
A friendly greeting welcomes visitors along with the contemporary yet warm furnishings, subway tile, a bright yellow wall, and a small fireplace.
Nate Kinowski, director of coffee, oversees the Eden Prairie location and the original in the Seven Corners neighborhood in downtown Minneapolis.
This location inside the church naturally attracts the church’s pastors, lay leaders, and members, but it is also frequented by more and more community members with plenty of space for co-working or studying, fulfilling the desire for 7 Corners also to be a way to reach out to the community.
“We want to be a place where people can come and have conversations surrounding faith or not, and if someone wants to just come in and enjoy a cup of coffee, we’re perfectly happy with that, too,” said Kinowski. “We can always find common ground in our enjoyment of coffee.”
According to Kinowski, the shop’s mission of kindness really is reflected in their employees.
“They work really hard to have high-quality products and also provide a life-giving experience with a barista,” he said. “We have an opportunity to build a relationship. When someone comes in and you remember their name, I think it goes a really long way in lifting their spirits. It’s a very simple mission in that regard, but it adds a lot of value to people’s lives.”
While 7 Corners Coffee employees are serious about outreach and kindness, they are equally serious about serving exceptional coffee, focusing on sustainability from farm to cup, and maintaining high quality.
Their website states, “All of our coffee can be traced back to the farmer who grew it, so you can know the journey it’s taken to reach you.” Their current menu includes a variety of seasonal lattes and local baked goods.
7 Corners Coffee, 6630 Shady Oak Road, is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Shoppers at Eden Prairie Center mall may stop at Cafe Viola the first time just looking for a quick pick-me-up.
But owner Deepak Chinta believes his coffee will soon become the destination itself. Chinta, who has lived in Eden Prairie for almost eight years, runs the kiosk on the mall’s lower level with the help of his close friend and associate Murthy Ivaturi.
After much research, Chinta opted to serve Lavazza, a premium Italian coffee brand and is the only coffee shop in the area serving Lavazza retail. The shop’s name has two-fold significance.
“Viola is Italian for violet,” he said, “and serving an Italian coffee, I was looking for an Italian name.” He continued, “Also, violet is the same purple as the Vikings. Being a Minnesotan, it is my home team, and I am a fan.” Chinta chose the Vikings’ colors for the shop’s decor, menu, and employee uniforms. A framed poster with a Vikings helmet hangs prominently on the wall.
A native of Southern India, Chinta lived in Seattle before moving to Eden Prairie. While coffee and tea are an integral part of Indian culture, Chinta also greatly appreciated the coffee culture when he lived in Seattle.
Those two things combined gave him the background he felt could help him succeed in his own venture. Said Chinta, “Coffee is essential to start the day. And when I’m making and serving coffee, I get a chance to have conversations. So it is an amalgamation of my interest in people and passion for coffee.”
Chinta also invested heavily in the shop’s coffee machine, which he calls “the heart of my entire business.” It has consistent quality and taste and can make the drinks in less than 75% of the usual time. An order can be ready by the time someone walks over to pick it up, a helpful feature for hurried shoppers who don’t want to wait in a long line.
As Chinta’s first venture, Café Viola has had its learning curve. Yet being an independent coffee shop owner has allowed Chinta freedom to experiment and innovate. Chinta hopes that people with a desire to support small local businesses will give his coffee a try.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “we will not disappoint you.”
Café Viola, 8251 Flying Cloud Drive, is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
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