Lynn Gordon is at it again.
The innovative entrepreneur, best known as founder and president of organic foods trailblazer French Meadow Bakery, will launch an organic coffee and wine bar this fall.
Slated to open in Edina’s Galleria Mall in November, Peoples Organic Coffee & Wine Café will incorporate the best elements of French Meadow - the organic breads and delectable baked goods, the homemade soups and sandwiches - along with a rich roster of organic coffee and wine.
For Gordon, it’s her chance to offer customers what she wants in a hangout: casual dining, delicious and organic food and drink, and a peaceful place to socialize with friends or unwind after a day of shopping.
“It’s also an opportunity for me to get outside the French Meadow box and start fresh again,” she says. “I’m taking all the best that I’ve learned with French Meadow during 25 years and applying it to this new company. We’re starting with a fresh slate at this sister business.”
French Meadow, which Gordon established in 1985 as the first and longest-running certified organic bakery in the country, has brewed java from Le Center-based Peoples Organic Coffee for some time. Gordon created several new coffee drinks for her Galleria café, some of which will debut at the Minnesota State Fair. French Meadow has operated a hugely popular stand at the fair for upwards of 15 years, and it expanded its operations into the more prominent Schumacher’s building last year.
In addition to the bakery’s fair menu, which includes croissants, fruit with fresh scones, risotto poppers and the three-cheese and Reuben pretzels, Gordon will offer three new drinks from her Peoples Organic café. Fairgoers can try her Sea Salt Caramel Latte, the Iced Marble Mocha featuring white and dark chocolate, and Blush Iced Tea Lemonade.
Gordon hopes that the debut of these drinks will help publicize the opening of the new café, which will have a more robust menu of coffee drinks than French Meadow. Like any sisters that share core characteristics, there are some other major differences between the sibling companies. For one, Peoples Organic in Galleria will offer organic wine and artisan beer. Its atmosphere will be sleek and edgy (designed by Shea, Inc., the architecture, interior design, and branding firm) compared to the funky vibe of French Meadow. Even so, popular menu items from one eatery could find its way to the other.
Gordon started percolating on her organic café idea in 2005, but she got sidetracked while selling French Meadow to Rich Products and opening four French Meadow locations at airports and a college campus. But she has been ironing out the details for the Peoples Organic Coffee & Wine Café ever since.
The 2,700-square-foot café will include indoor and outdoor seating. Its menu highlights farm-to-table foods covering three squares a day, snacks and dessert. Gordon even infuses the interior design with local flavor, including the bar’s mosaic tile, coffee mugs and the glass chandelier.
Gordon believes so strongly in her organic café concept that she and her investors arranged for franchising even before opening Store One. Aiming for gradual and organic growth, Gordon and her team are in talks with potential franchise owners in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and California.
“I’m always talking to people who say they want to own a restaurant or a bakery or a coffee shop. Food is life, and it’s nurturing,” Gordon says. “On many levels, it’s very gratifying to offer this to individuals because they are excited to do something they always wanted to do, and it’s a great brand with all of these great products. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.”