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Common Roots Cafe - MSP

Just stopped by the Common Roots Cafe at 26th and Lyndale (the old Sobas -- and older Poulet -- space) for dinner this evening. Apparently, they just opened on Monday.

They have opened up the space and have stripped the walls back to the brick. You order at a counter and then a server brings your food.

Had a grilled sandwich with eggplant and olive spread, thinly sliced zucchini and gouda cheese. The sandwich came with a side of bagel chips and pickled cauliflower and carrot. Very tasty.

I also had a cup of soup, but I'm not sure what kind it was. (I had ordered red lentil, but that's not what I got. When I went up to look at the menu board later, I couldn't figure out which soup I'd gotten instead.)

They also serve beer and wine -- the beer includes two Surly taps (currently Cynicale and Bender).

The sandwich, cup of soup, and a pint of beer ran about $15.

A very earnest place -- they seem to be very committed to locally sourced food and the food is made from scratch. Several types of Peace Coffee.

They also had a beautiful cake, several scones, pastries, and muffins. Oh, and they make their own bagels.

All in all, a nice neighborhood place.

Common Roots Cafe
2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405

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  1. thanks for the nice review of this place bob s-- been keeping an eye on the reno there, waiting for them to open!

    1. bob - did you notice if they had wifi?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Foureyes137

        I did not notice any indications of wifi but, to be honest, I wasn't really looking for it. The cafe does have the feel of a place that would encourage hanging around for a while so it wouldn't surprise me if they do.

        1. re: Foureyes137

          Today there was a gal on a notebook, so I *think* they have wifi. I didn't specifically ask though.

          I had a roastbeef sandwich with raw milk cheese, onions, and stone ground mustard on honey grain (I think) that was excellent. My small cappuccino turned into something more like a latte (more milk and bigger than a cappa should be), but the espresso shot was ground immediately before being pulled and it had nice tiger stripes through most of it's ~28 second pull (good).

          My wife had a bagel with blueberry cream cheese and slice of banana bread. Both were very good; the bagels were a little "skinny" looking though.

          Overall a good experience on our first visit.

          1. re: Foureyes137

            common roots most certainly has wifi!

          2. I went in this morning and grabbed a toasted sesame bagel w. a bit of butter. I thought the bagel was the best I have had in a long time. And it was the size a bagel should be, not gargantuan like Einstein's. The flavour was so much fresher than Bruegger's. I key getting slightly sweet and then a little salt. Excellent. And the space was like a breath of fresh air after Soba's!

            1. I just stopped by this morning, and you're definitely burying the lede -- Minneapolis/St. Paul now has real bagels. I ate my way through Manhattan and Brooklyn when I was living in Cobble Hill looking for the best bagels out there (my feeling: Terrace Bagels, in Park Slope), so I'm attuned to what sets apart the good, the bad, and the ugly. Common Roots bagels have a nice boiled exterior (but not too tough), a good dense flavorful interior (but not too sour), and a perfect size -- the tire-sized bagel is an abomination, not a goal, because it tends to result in a higher soft interior to delicious crusty exterior ratio than is desirable.

              The cream cheese is definitely something fresh (not off-the-shelf) and the combination of the two is dynamite. Life as we know it has been altered. Slightly. For the better.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jrnorton23

                No lede to bury - I hadn't had the bagels. (I did bury the lede in another review recently of Saffron.)

                What flavors of bagels do they have? As long as they've refrained from raisin/cranberry/bubble gum/etc., I might think they have the real thing!

              2. I'm so excited to stop by for a bagel and soup on my way into the office in a little bit! Will report back on the bagel flavors.

                3 Replies
                1. re: katebauer

                  I'm currently eating my take out.

                  It's a really bright and clean space, and they do have wireless. They had 4 types of bagels - sesame, plain, poppy, and one other savory which I can't remember. I got the carrot ginger soup which is really wonderful and slightly spicy. I had a creamier bowl of it at Riverview Wine Bar last month which was really fantastic - this one is a small step down but still great. They packed the soup in an eco-friendly container which is a little too flimsy. I also got a sesame bagel w/ plain cream cheese. I would prefer the bagel to have a little more definition - crunchier on the outside and chewy in the middle, but it's definitely an improvement to the chain bagels.

                  The sandwiches looked delicious too and I can't wait to go back. They were having some problems with the cash register today so if you go soon bring cash.

                  1. re: katebauer

                    Can you get a dozen bagels to go, or is it more oriented toward eating in? (In other words, do they have giant bins of fresh bagels for sale?)

                    1. re: Jordan

                      Their menu advertises a dozen or half dozen bagels and they definitely do a lot of takeout business. They don't have that many bagels out front (maybe 15-20 of each of the 4 kinds) so I don't think they're expecting to sell a lot of dozens but it's definitely possible.

                2. Here are some pictures I took of Common Roots. (I hope this isn't against ChowHounds rules, if so sorry in advance):


                  1. tried common roots recently.

                    the bagels were really good i thought. the cream cheese was organic, fresh, non-gummy and notably better than competitors'. you could get extras on your bagel-cream-cheese (30 cents per extra). i got sprouts, red onion & capers. capers on my bagel-- oh yeah, soupkitten livin' large! the bagels are the star attraction here--i could see a lot of people bringing a dozen or 1/2 dozen bagels to work, with or without the excellent cream cheese, instead of donuts or pastries. the prices were comparable, even cheaper than the bagel chains with much higher quality & flavor. to whomever has recently been searching for lox, common roots offers it, & it looked very good but i did not try it.

                    i like the atmosphere and "earnestness" of the place very much. i must say i tried my friend's sandwich & soup and was not wowed. the shop is really new yet & it is hard to tell whether they are more of a coffee shop with beer or whether they are making a go at being a full-menu cafe. if that is so than the food must improve imo. i am admittedly very hard to please when it comes to soup. still though. why are simple things so easy to screw up? hope they can improve this, as a high-quality ingredient cafe deserves to thrive in msp and such a pretty space too.

                    1. I agree with everyone's positive reviews of the bagels and cream cheese at Common Roots, and now that I've finally had a whole meal there I can finally add to this thread.

                      My cappuccino was delicious. The coffee flavor was smooth yet distinct, which is what I'm looking for. My experience has been that many chain coffee shops serve espresso that is quite acrid because it needs to hold its own versus 16 oz of milk. Not so with Common Roots.

                      I had a cup of tomato squash soup served with multigrain tortilla chips instead of crackers. Divine. Absolutely divine. Paired it with a beet sandwich on pumpernickel, which also came with multigrain chips and a slice of grapefruit. I thought it was spot on.

                      Husband had curry chicken salad sandwich on sourdough, another winner.

                      The only possible negative about Common Roots Cafe is that with free WiFi people tend to set up camp for a long time, which can sometimes make it hard to find a table.

                      Here's a recent Star Tribune review as well: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: StPauliGirl

                        cool to hear about the soup. had lunch again at common roots yesterday: to update my earlier impression of the food, all was shared: bagel & cream cheese still great. sandwich with thousand hills beef was very good. pasta salad-- unfortunately poor execution on this: very "minnesota nice" seasoning, looked wonderful, tasted cafeteria-ish. the slice of grapefruit was lovely. i'll be sure to try the soup of the day next time! as StPauliGirl states the wifiers were at it and tables were at a premium.