Just don’t burn the coffee

Updated: January 15, 2016 - 3:39 pm

Dunn Brothers Coffee got its start in 1987 on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Curl up at this fireplace location on Lake Street toast their nearly 30 years in business.

About this time of year I turn into a pyromaniac. Don’t worry, you’re not going to have to call the fire department, but come to think of it, this newspaper would sure make great kindling . . . after I finish reading it, of course.

We see less of the sun in Minnesota in February and March and it seems harder to extract the cold from our frigid bones. El Niño made the first part of winter easier but we’re suffering now. So is the strong furnace in my house. I pile on turtlenecks and fleece and even splurged for a cashmere sweater this year but still can’t manage to stay warm. Sleeping is another story; the pile of wool on our bed is a chronologically layered history of Minnesota’s blanket industry: a Pullman train blanket from North Star Woolen Mills, Paul Bunyan anniversary blanket from Bemidji Woolen Mills, and a numbered Hudson’s Bay blanket from Faribault Woolen Mill Company. We practically need block and tackle to make the bed it’s so heavy.

What really warms me though, is flickering flames. I’m thankful that Litin Party Paper sells restaurant-style wax-filled glass candle holders for just a couple bucks — I have them all over the house. But when I actually do have to leave the house I make sure there’s a fireplace at my destination. In the Twin Cities that’s not too difficult; nearly every Caribou Coffee has a fireplace and their cozy wood interiors make for a great place to warm up, work a little, or have a quick meeting.

Coming back through Brooklyn Center the other day I needed a cup of coffee and pulled into a completely nondescript strip mall. To my surprise, the CARIBOU COFFEE (8559 Edinburgh Centre Dr. N) had a fabulous, completely round fireplace, with cozy chairs surrounding it. I plopped right down.

But Caribou isn’t the only coffee shop with a fireplace. So I’ve decided to go on a quest to find them all. And I need your help. Send me your favorite coffee shops with fireplaces. I’ll compile a master list then feature them on Facebook for the rest of winter. Then we’re sure to stay warm. Here’s a couple more to get us started:

Though they’re only electric embers, the fireplace at WILDE ROAST CAFE (65 SE Main Street) has great presence with a carved wood mantle and mirrored surround, a giant tufted ottoman, wingback chairs, and an oriental rug. The cafe curls around the fireplace and deli counter while a full-service restaurant lingers in the tiered seating above. An opulent place to hang out.

Another round fireplace — so welcoming and sharable — is dab smack in the middle of bustling Lake Street at DUNN BROS. COFFEE (821 W Lake St.). Lofty ceilings and faux finished walls and columns create a more urbane experience. Put your feet up here and stay the whole afternoon.

Whether it’s coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, make mine flambé.

Send your fireplace favs and learn about others, by following Linda Koutsky, the Weekend Tourist, on Facebook.