Photos by Eric Best

Cardigan Donuts brings comfort food to City Center

Updated: May 16, 2017 - 1:47 pm

The skyway shop offers doughnuts, coffee and yogurt bowls

Justin Bedford left the corporate world to create what he didn’t see in the downtown Minneapolis skyway: a comforting doughnut shop for workers to escape the sometimes cold and hostile land of cubicles.

Now, Bedford and co-owner Jeff Bull are opening Cardigan Donuts on Thursday, May 11 in the City Center skyway. The 45-seat upscale doughnut shop offers “comfort food for everyone,” Bedford said, in a mid-century modern setting.

“Our whole operation was made specifically for everyone I’ve met downtown over the years. Cardigan’s space is warm and welcoming — perfect for networking or taking a break to catch up with a friend,” he said in a statement.

Chef Dan Rosene (Taste of Scandinavia, Commons Roots Café, Tria Restaurant) has put together a tiered doughnut menu featuring 10 or so varieties of classics ($1.95) like glazed doughnuts and French crullers, premium pastries ($2.75) like a Bismarck filled with strawberry-rhubarb jam and Cardigan’s own Churro Roll, and, lastly, “inspired” doughnuts of the shop’s own creation. This selection of doughnuts, which will range from $3-$5 with most being around $3.25-$3.50, Bedford said, includes the colorful Rainbow Road with marshmallows, a mocha long john and The Farmhouse, an egg yolk custard-filled Bismarck with candied bacon and maple icing.

The Rainbow Road at Cardigan Donuts
The Rainbow Road at Cardigan Donuts

What separates Cardigan’s doughnuts, even its most basic doughnuts, Rosene said, is that they will be fresher than what guests traditionally find on their way to work.

“The oldest our product will be from when the door opens is two hours,” he said.

cardigan 3 webCardigan also offers customizable yogurt bowls ($3.95-$5.25) with fruit, house-made granola and sweetener options, along with an “inspired” tier with additions like cacao nibs and poached pear.

The menu will change with the help of Cardigan’s followers. Bull said they’ll crowdsource feedback during monthly tastings, which Cardigan calls its Donut Lab, where randomly chosen guests will be able to try out what Rosene is working on.

On the beverage side, Cardigan Donuts partners with Blackeye Roasting Co. to provide espresso drinks, its nitro cold brew and a variety of coffee unique to the shop. Customers can also choose a variety of on-tap kombucha teas.

Blackeye is a relatively new addition to the downtown Minneapolis skyway itself, with a café that opened in the Towle Building on the other side of downtown last year.

IMG_8443.JPGLauren and Joel Gryniewski of Eat Street gift store Greater Goods have developed a store-within-a-store concept of the shop near Cardigan’s coffee counter. The gift wall offers a changing selection of goods like cards from their stationery businesses Old Tom Foolery and Modern Lore, prints and even doughnut-themed goods that are nearly all under $30.

“We wanted to be able to adapt this for the skyway customer and provide things that someone could bring back to their desk, back to a coworker’s birthday or grab a doughnut and a grab a card with it,” Lauren said.

Cardigan’s 2,600-square-foot space is located next door to Naf Naf Grill on the second floor of City Center. The interior, designed by Smart Associates, includes couches and seating around a fireplace, a coffee bar and a table for groups to meet.

“The vision for Cardigan is really a mid-century modern living room with a workspace in the back, somewhere that feels comfortable,” Bull said. “We are all about warmth, welcome and serving comfort food to people.”

The shop at 40 S. 7th St. is open from 6:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Submitted photo
Submitted photo