Back to stay: Coffee on the goDish and Spoon Café co-owner Abbie Testaberg said late last week that a drive-through location at 1521 Sullivan Court will open on or about Feb. 20.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Dish and Spoon Café co-owner Abbie Testaberg said late last week that a drive-through location at 1521 Sullivan Court will open on or about Feb. 20.
The location sits east of where Main Street meets Paulson Road. It’s been a drive-through coffee place twice before under different owners.
Testaberg and her mother, Emily-Lyon Hansen, co-own the Main Street café. They and Testaberg’s husband, Jody, are equal partners in ownership of the new Dish and Spoon Drive Thru.
Testaberg said the first time the drive-through coffee place closed, they talked about possibly expanding the Dish and Spoon into it, but the time wasn’t right for another location.
She said, “The second time it closed, we got more serious about it.”
Founding and former owners Chris and Damon Plattner developed the land in 2006 and opened Grind’n Away Fine Coffee in Jan. 2007, serving until Sept. 2008.
New owners Deep South, LLC, bought the business in June 2009 and operated it for about a year before closing.
Testaberg said the Dish and the Spoon Café Drive Thru will soon sport a new sign and logo similar to its parent business -- look for a cow in the car.
Drive-through hours will be 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday.
She said the drive through opens an hour earlier than the Main Street café, “In hopes of offering an earlier opportunity to the earlier commuters.”
Saturday hours will be set after owners gauge needs for that day, but Testaberg says the start time will be a little later than during the week.
The new drive-through business will offer the café’s full line of specialty coffees, smoothies, cold drinks and Sprecher sodas, as well as baked goods and bread products such as scones, muffins, bars and other on-the-go treats.
Testaberg says the owners brainstormed about what kind of great food they could crank out in the small facility.
She says after spending a lot of time in Chicago while growing up, the idea of Chicago-style hot dogs stuck with her.
“We will be featuring a classic Chicago dog,” she said.
Testaberg says people can expect the authentic recipe that includes a poppy-seed bun, yellow mustard and a specific array of toppings.
Complementing those will be “deli dogs” made with polish or Italian sausage or a brat. The owners are collaborating with meat processors in Elmwood and Hudson to procure fresh, local products for the between-a-bun offerings.
A selection of what Testaberg calls deli-style sandwiches will also be offered out the window, for breakfast and lunch plus in quick-call combinations.
The owners envision sandwiches being served on a bun, in a wrap, or on a limited selection of fresh breads, with choices of ham, bacon, egg and cheese, and maybe the frittata-like creations people like at the café. Sides will include fruit, coleslaw, pasta and chips.
Everything will be geared toward fresh and tasty food that is easy to take on the go.
“We don’t want to sacrifice flavor and quality for convenience,” said Testaberg.
The business partners acknowledged the basic truth that if they didn’t open a shop, someone else eventually would. Why not capture the business before future competition does?
The owners strategized and planned how to establish consistent, reliable service plus make the small kitchen work. They knew the business ‘could not live by coffee alone.’
Testaberg said about husband, Jody, “We’re losing him at the cafe, but he’s going to be running the drive through with a second person.”
She says the drive-through portion of the business generated the equivalent of two full-time jobs.
The co-owner says a few great deals on used equipment -- just like they have at the café -- plus a collection of things she has kept have helped prepare the new place for service.
The partners spent time cleaning the empty building, fixing a few things, and visualizing how the space could be arranged for maximum efficiency. In spring, they plan to spruce up outside and possibly add some picnic tables.
The owners bought Lighthouse Coffee in 2007, shortly after acquiring the Elm Street Deli and combining both to create the Dish and the Spoon Café. The partners recognize the potential for the café and drive through to not only cross promote each other but also share successful products and grow the business’ customer base.