South St. Anthony Park will once again have its own full-service coffee shop and café. WORKHORSE COFFEE BAR (yes, it’s all caps) plans to open later this fall at 2399 University Ave. in the space that formerly housed the Edge Coffee Shop.
In addition to artisan coffee and espresso drinks, WORKHORSE will offer a rotating selection of locally sourced sandwiches, pastries—including gluten free options—and other organic offerings.
Co-owner Shannon Forney worked in the neighborhood at the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council in the Midtown Commons Building, 2324 University Ave., and said she has been acutely aware of the lack of a local coffee shop.
“I’ve worked in the neighborhood for five years and have definitely experienced the need for a local coffee shop,” she said.
Friend, co-owner and head barista Ty Barnett brings 20 years of local coffee industry experience to the new endeavor, including as a manager at Nina’s Coffee Café and Black Dog Coffee in St. Paul.
The women say they also drew inspiration from their own neighborhood coffee shop, Groundswell Coffee, in the Hamline Midway neighborhood. The women hope to cultivate a welcoming community atmosphere with locally roasted coffee, regular music performances and other arts-friendly events and amenities such as a rotating gallery of local artists’ work.
“Because of my work with the arts, I definitely have a commitment to working with artists and understanding the value of creative placemaking and supporting entrepreneurs both as a business entity, but also as a customer profile,” Forney said.
Along those lines, WORKHORSE COFFEE is one of 69 finalists in the St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge. Forney’s proposal to cultivate the “tiniest museum in St. Paul,” would convert a recessed fire hose cabinet in the front of the building into a miniature streetscape gallery. Winners will be announced later this month.