Cafeaplis — coffe + community @ minneapolis

Clicquot Club Cafe

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We are very excited about this next coffee shop. We discovered it in our new neighborhood shortly before transferring here to Seward, and it has since become our new hangout. And we’re not the only ones. It seems that every time we make our way to Clicquot Club Cafe (pronounced “KLEE – ko”, named after a historic soft drink company now defunct) the place is packed. Is it the delicious coffee? Or is it the gigantic mouth-watering menu? Could it be the spacious outdoor seating, including a pleasant courtyard stocked with lounge chairs surrounding a bubbling fountain? Take your pick.

New Author

And just who is the “we” that we speak of? Added to the list of authors on this blog is now Justin Heideman, who will be filing some occasional posts, while Adrienne is in grad school for the next several years. In the mean time, we still like coffee and now that Adrienne is laptop equipped, we hope to visit more coffee shops together.

Seward Neighborhood

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Seward is one of our favorite neighborhoods in the metro area, which is part of why we moved here. Progressive, family- and community-oriented, diverse, historic, and beautiful, it lies between the lightrail and the river, Lake Street and the University. The little bungalow houses date back to the turn of the century when people still built on small lots but included big porches. Almost everyone has a garden. You’ll find restaurants, bars, stores, co-ops, and galleries not only along the main corridors, but also tossed on the most unlikely neighborhood street corners. Bikers abound, on their way to the Greenway bike path, which pulses through Seward like an artery. In generous Matthews Park children line up for Little League or splash in the kiddie pool, while teens shoot hoops on the pine-shaded courts.

Inside and Out

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You’ll find Clicquot Club Cafe two blocks north of the Greenway and one block east of Matthews Park. It’s hard to not notice the little white building with giant orange vintage signs on both sides. It’s distinctly old-fashioned, with its big picture windows and narrow siding. Ten or so streetside tables line the front and side, but the best seating for nice summer weather is in the fair-sized garden on the west side of the building. White lawn chairs, complete with umbrellas and footrests, circle round a brick patio and a pleasant wildflower garden. You might feel like you were in your own backyard, especially if your backyard came complete with wait staff offering you refreshments from time to time. Mine does not, which is why I (Adrienne) like to take a book and waste a couple hours in the Clicquot courtyard. For outdoor seating, it doesn’t get much better than this. One could even see replacing the fountain with a bonfire in the cooler months.

Inside, the atmosphere is bright and cheerful, with kind of a homey cosmopolitan feel. Along with colorful walls and clean woodwork, crisp skylights bring a feeling of airiness to an otherwise small space. It feels new and fresh, which makes sense because the cafe opened in the winter of 2005 after a thorough re-vamping of the old building. The decor is a nice non-fussy balance of vintage and casual modern with attention to design detail not found in other shops. The lighting fixtures are modern and cool, not retro or quirky. The wall colors, tile and tables all work together well.

One thing you don’t find in every coffee shop is children. But at the Clicquot, given its delicious menu and friendly neighborhood atmosphere, children frequently stop in with their parents for lunch. In fact, I believe I saw several neighborhood kids stop in for a soda on their way to the park, the way my little sister and I used to trek down to the local drug store in search of candy when we were kids. Otherwise the clientele is every type of neighbor. Families having dinner, couples sharing coffee, and the like.

Food and Drink

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Cliquot doesn’t have that hippie vibe that Seward establishments often exude (read: the Seward Cafe and Co-op) in the sense that it is not over-run with houseplants and leaflets. But it’s still new – there’s time for that. The crowds that swell every gorgeous summer Saturday will soon claim it as its own. If you visit at these busy times, you’ll be lucky to find a table. Most evenings, though, seating is not an issue. We’ve always felt very welcome there and were never rushed to finish our meal or coffee treats.

The first thing you notice when ordering is that the menu is huge: at least 6 pages, each crammed with options. Fourteen different panini, twelve pizzas, fifteen sandwiches, not to mention the breakfast foods, appetizers, brunch, or drinks. Part of me wishes that they’d trim the menu a bit to make ordering easier, but then again everything we’ve tasted has been excellent. The menu is straight Italian deli fare: hot grilled panini, pizza, and lots of olives, artichokes, peppers, cheeses. There is a wide selection of vegetarian friendly items, though vegan is more sparse.

On one occasion, we started with an appetizer of Artichoke Ramekin, which was baked to absolute perfection. It was one of the best artichoke dips we’ve sampled, with a bit of a hearty flavor, almost with a hint of red wine. The bruschetta is also excellent. For dinner on the same occasion, we shared a Portabella Tapenade pizza, which was excellent, but seemed a bit heavy on the tapenade. At our server’s suggestion, we topped it with some of the left over artichoke dip, which added an entirely new layer of flavoring to the cheesy goodness.

The coffee is fair trade, and depending on what blend you order, is about 75% the strength of a regular Starbucks pour, never tasting burnt. The drinks are also quite good, having sampled the Cubano and the Cafe Clicquot. You get the impression that while the staff might not be professional barristers with the attitudes that would go along with a good cup, they have been trained pretty well on how to make all the drinks just right.

The Service

Since we live two blocks from the club, we’ve been there more times than I have fingers. The service on our first few visits was underwhelming. Food was slow to come, or our order had been misplaced. To their credit, the staff was apologetic and our food eventually came. Despite these early letdowns, we could tell the cafe had character and we came back. Our last several visits have been much more satisfactory, with quick service and fantastic fare.

A word from the regulars: don’t be confused upon arrival as to whether you just sit down or go to the counter to order first. If you’re there to eat, just grab a seat and someone will drop a menu off right quick. Otherwise, to just grab a joe to go, head to the counter. Be warned though, you won’t get the same 30 second in and out time as you would in a Starbucks or even the local Bad Waitress, but that’s not the Cliquot’s schtick anyway.

Working there

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In the rest of my life, I (Justin) do a fair amount of work on the computer. Often, this entails trying to escape the solitude of my studio so I can avoid the label of “hermit”. The Clicquot is a great place to grind out some code (or study). There are plentiful power outlets, almost one for every table, even a few outside if you sit by the door or bring an extension cord. The wireless is strong, and fast. Unlike some more popular shops where you swear everyone is running limewire, the Clicquot has wireless that feels as fast as broadband at home. Each time I’m there, there are usually only one or two other people on the wireless, so it may just be an undiscovered resource at this point.

An Unfortunate Accident (8.17.07)

Just a side note: we had been working on this story for several weeks when we heard about the accident that occurred in front of the cafe on August 17th. Apparently a truck jumped the curb in front of the Clicquot and ran into the outdoor seating area while going 30 mph. Thirteen people were hospitalized. See this Star Tribune article for the whole story. We just wanted to draw attention to this tragedy and offer our condolences and best wishes to any folks injured – it could have been us. We stand by the Clicquot as a fine neighborhood institution and hope that people will continue to patronize it.

More Photos on Flickr
Review Quick Info
Cup of Coffee Cost $1.50 (12oz. Fair Trade)
Type of Food Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner - European
Decor Colorful, laid-back modern
Crowd All types
Barista Attitude Very friendly
Hours 8am - 10pm everyday
Wireless Speed Great
Power Outlets Plentiful
Location Info
Address 2929 East 25th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Google Map Link
Phone 612-724-4700
Website http://www.clicquotclubcafe.c...


  • I Wish I had time to keep up with my own blog like you do. Love it….

  • I added your blog to bookmarks. And i’ll read your articles more often! Before this, it would be possible for the government to arrest you just based on whatever you were saying, if they didn’t like it.

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© Copyright 2006 Adrienne Bockheim.