For the Wells family, the apple falls one state over from the tree.
Suann Wells is the founder of the Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery in Burlington, Iowa, which will expand into the Minneapolis market next month under the direction of her son, Zach Danekas.
Danekas, a Downtown East resident, will be the general manager of the 1,200-square-foot café, which will occupy the former World Café space on the Soo Line building’s skyway level. The family plans to open at least one more Minneapolis café, which would follow the model of the Burlington location with a liquor license, regular acoustic music and a larger footprint.
“We’re excited to be a part of not just downtown Minneapolis, but Minneapolis in general, and to make it even more of a home going forward,” Wells said.
Wells, a former CFO at an international consulting firm (hence the café’s name), and her husband opened the first Beancounter as a retirement plan 16 months ago in Burlington, a town of about 36,000 people located 300 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. The café uses organic, fair trade beans, including its own blend, from Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co., a Lawrenceville-based company that donates 20 percent of its proceeds to no-kill animal shelters.
While the Minneapolis skyway will be smaller and won’t have room for music, the new location will have a food menu for grab-and-go meals. Danekas said they plan to have leather chairs and enough space for office workers or the building’s residents to meet.
Wells said the Minneapolis location is just one of five stores they plan to open in the next five years. While she declined to comment on where future cafés will be located, the next coffeehouse will be a larger location in Minneapolis.
“We are a local family-owned and -operated business and we plan to keep our new roots firmly planted in Minneapolis,” she said. “We’re here for the long haul.”
Danekas, a regional operations manager at Vancouver-based office catering company Foodee, has lived in the city for the past five years. He said their tagline of “Come. Sit. Drink. Enjoy.” is about being welcoming and inclusive, which is how his family operates.
“That’s really important to us as our basic model or mantra,” Wells said.
The Minneapolis Beancounter Coffeehouse is slated to open in early March at 105 S. 5th St. The space was once home to Café Zentral, the sister café of Brasserie Zentral and the Foreign Legion wine bar. The two restaurants were located on Soo Line’s ground floor where Mercury Dining Room and Rail and the Shindig event space now operate.