Birchwood Cafe serves Good Real Food, what's that all about?
We opened the Birchwood in 1995 with a vision of serving locally sourced, fresh, flavorful food to our community. We pictured a warm, family friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with high quality food, great local art on the walls, and the knowledgeable service previously only found in fine dining establishments. Since then, the Birchwood has grown into an acclaimed Twin Cities destination for deliciously creative and healthy food. Our community of guests, fans, colleagues, and farmers keeps growing, year after year.
At the same time our commitment to sustainability and local foods has grown stronger in 18 years; it guides our choices every day, on and off the plate. The Birchwood sources its Good Real Food from over 40 local producers, most from within 200 miles of the cafe. We are also dedicated to telling the story of our food, not only in three meals served daily, but with outreach, community support and action. We organize crop mobs with our partner farms and host events with nationally renowned food luminaries such as Will Allen, Joel Salatin, and Michael Pollan. We are actively engaged in helping transform our food system through advocacy and service.
Much to our delight, people responded to our vision and the Birchwood has become a hub for our community—a place where memories are made, ideas are grown, and friends and family connect over Good Real Food.
We want to keep going and to grow our initial vision. To do that, we need your support and engagement!
The Birchwood needs to expand and remodel its current location; it's been a long time coming. We’re dreaming bigger and better because we are literally bursting at the seams! We have a lot of great things we want to do to update and improve our space for our guests, staff, and our farmers and producers. We’re asking you to back our project to help us get there.
Our new and improved cafe will serve more guests with more seats, enhanced service, and shorter lines. We will also offer an expanded menu, a community room, more room for local art, increased catering, and an additional bathroom—hooray!
Not only will the new facility allow us to buy and serve more food from local farmers and producers, it will provide our team a working environment worthy of their passion and skill. The renovation includes greater kitchen capacity (so no more driving to an offsite kitchen), and the complete overhaul of our refrigeration and HVAC system, which alone are estimated to cost $90,000. We also plan to increase our commitment to sustainable energy with a solar rooftop array and by adding more energy efficient design and appliances throughout the building.
How does Kickstarter fit into all of this?
We have reached a crossroads with our current location and our business is no longer tenable at its current size. We’re reaching out to the community through Kickstarter for help in funding our expansion because conventional financing only takes us so far. In order to open the new Birchwood by next spring (in time for patio season!), we need to break ground before winter, with all of our financing secured.
Plus, we see Kickstarter as more than a fundraiser; it represents a new level
in our relationship with our community and we see it as an inclusive
process. People have so many
great stories about how Birchwood has intersected with their lives. From
sponsoring the Birchwood Bike Team as they spread the word about the
positive power of cycling, to donating to The Aliveness Project through
their annual "Dining Out for Life" program, to helping to found the
Minneapolis Public Schools True Food Chef council, we believe in taking
an active role in our community.
We want to work with our community so we all can prosper! This expansion lays the foundation to do just that. With your support we can continue and grow as a socially responsible, locally engaged small business.
I'm sold! What do I get by becoming a Birchwood Backer?
We have a bunch of great perks to offer our backers, including:
- Exclusive Birchwood Backer mugs and tee shirts
- Tickets to see the new Birchwood before anyone else at a preview meal event
- Autographed copies of the first-ever Birchwood Cafe Cookbook
- Cooking classes with Chef Marshall Paulsen
- Your own private event in the new Birchwood Community Room
- Pizza Dinner & Hayride at Riverbend Farm
- A seat at a private dinner with Chef Marshall Paulsen and a local guest chef (check out the list!)
- A "Dinner on the Farm" with food by Birchwood Chef Marshall Paulsen and special musical guest Mason Jennings
We would not be here today without the efforts of our fantastic Birchwood crew and of course you—our supporters, friends, neighbors, and customers who’ve been with us all the way. Please consider backing our project. We’re ready to take our next step, and we hope you’ll come with us! Together we can change the food system, one savory waffle at a time!
Please remember, if we do not make our goal in time, we receive no kickstarter funding and cannot renovate. Help us spread the word!
Recent Awards & Accolades
- The Nature Conservancy – Nature's Plate Award / 2013
- City Pages – Best Farm to Table Restaurant / 2012
- MN Monthly – Best of the Twin Cities / 2009, 2010, 2011
- Star Tribune – TASTE 50 / 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- Mpls.St.Paul Magazine – Best Vegetarian / 2007, 2008
"Help Birchwood Cafe -- a local, community-supporting and globally minded business with their Kickstarter," GOOD, November 7th, 2013
Claire Stanford, "Birchwood Kickstarter, Week 2: $33,646," EATER, November 6th, 2013
Risks and challenges
In terms of risks, as with any construction project, there are variables beyond our control and we will do our best to mitigate them. This campaign has been years in the making. We have met with developers and considered other sites, but the heart of the Birchwood lies in the Seward neighborhood. We have consulted with architects, structural engineers and contractors to explore all expansion options and we have settled on a plan that will work well with our current site.
Now, we’re officially approved: The Seward Neighborhood Group voted 141-28 in favor of expanding the Birchwood by up to 1,700 square feet. We’ve also been approved by the City of Minneapolis to rezone the Birchwood Cafe property from a R1A zoning to C1 commercial zoning. Now all we need to continue forward with the renovation is to raise enough money to fill the gap between what we can get from the bank and what we need to break ground. After a successful Kickstarter campaign our plan is start the renovations before the onset of winter.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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