Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar

Twin Cities, Minnesota


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rating star

This coffee shop has a nice vibe and it provides somewhere to go in Lowertown, which is otherwise devoid of business.

That said, it's a pretty generic independent coffee shop: mysterious, potentially un-vegan soup; a few bland sandwiches with potentially un-vegan bread; and mediocre chai. They also offer hummus and tabouli for a whopping $7.25.

The chai comes in a small cup and costs a pricey $3.27 with tax (you could get twice the chai, and much higher quality taste, at Namaste Cafe, or even Caribou). It's a pre-made mix from a plastic jug, with is pretty lame, as I think independent coffee shops should earn their chops by making, say, their own chai recipe or their own proprietary drink/food (of whatever kind). Just because you're independent doesn't mean you should stoop to the lowest level and just serve packaged goods (at a steep mark-up from wholesale rates) that your food distributor happens to offer (which is the case with most places).

Why not have some mockmeat sandwiches? How about baking your own bread or vegan cookies? Anything? Black Dog doesn't do anything to stand out, other than happening to be the only coffee shop in an otherwise empty area. Go the extra inch, Black Dog, and make some food that requires more skill than unscrewing a cap or tearing open a plastic bag.

rating star

Well at first glance this is a cute little shop. I asked if they knew what on the menu was vegan, they said yes, yay! Contrary to my belief, they didn't even know what vegan was. The manager proceeded to tell me that aside from the milk powder in their breads and pizza crusts that it was in fact vegan....negative. We walked out!

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rating star

I worked in Lowertown (Saint Paul) for five years and I'd often trek over to the Black Dog for either a bowl of soup or a sandwich (strange that in all that time I never bothered to make a vegguide entry for it). I did it so frequently that I made up my own "sandwich order form" which I would bring, pre-filled out, to speed things up (I've attached a printable JPG to this entry so you can do likewise!).
The Black Dog is one of the few places that has vegan food in Lowertown and, for that and for the charming counter workers, it gets the high marks.

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