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Brewing delicious coffee in New Brighton for 20 years
It wasn’t only New Brighton’s need for a small coffee shop that led Lynn Barton to open the Bru House in 1996. It was also her passion for coffee itself.
The Bru House, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in January, is proud of being rooted in the community and strives to deliver not only great-tasting coffee, but also a comfortable place to enjoy it.
Barton, an avid coffee-drinker since age 12, is dedicated to her community. Born and raised in New Brighton, she opened the Bru House with no business experience and yet it has remained a go-to spot for fresh brewed coffee the past two decades.
But she’s quick to point out things haven’t remained static at the coffeehouse. She listens to her customers’ questions and suggestions, and the business has evolved, while also remaining what customers like best: a pleasant spot to sip a cup of hot coffee and enjoy a salad, sandwich or fresh-baked scone.
The Bru Thru
“I was sort of ahead of the game, getting rooted before the ‘big guns’ came to town,” Barton says, referring to national coffee franchises, which did not have a big presence in the Twin Cities market 20 years ago. “That’s why I’ve been able to stay where I am.”
One thing she’s always admired about some of those “big guns,” however, was that many of them utilized drive-through windows.
Barton says she had always wished her coffee shop could have a drive through window, but due to city codes and regulations, it wasn’t an option at her location in a small strip mall on Silver Lake Road. At least not until recently.
After a long-time barbershop moved out of its location on the far side of the same building, the Bru House seized the opportunity, adding on a popular new feature, the Bru Thru.
Though it’s technically a separate location, the Bru Thru offers the same staff, coffee and food items, allowing customers on the go to grab what they need from their cars at the other end of the building.
“It helps accommodate mothers with little kids in the car, elderly people who have trouble getting in and out of their cars, and others,” Barton says. “The response has been so much fun. People are excited about it,” she adds. “And it’s been so useful.”
Bringing it home
Barton says she chose the name because it was simple and masculine, and the logo distinguished the shop from a brewery with a coffee mug.
Barton says she likes it simple. She has no future plans for a second location or expanding the brand to other cities.
Living just three blocks from the shop, she says she’s local and likes it that way.
“I wouldn’t want to stretch myself too thin,” Barton explains. “I want to put all my energy into this one location. It’s important to me that I keep this family business small.”
Visit and enjoy
Bru House serves coffee roasted by Alakaf of Duluth, which for 25 years has roasted certified organic, fair-trade coffee beans grown on small farms around the world.
With the addition of the Bru Thru, the coffeehouse was able to add a small kitchen. Serving from both the counter and the window, customers are able to order coffee drinks, pastries and a new egg bake muffin.
“We also make the majority of our baked goods, scones, muffins, bars, and cookies in-house now,” Barton says. Bru House’s menu offers excellent soups, sandwiches and salad. Some of their signature sandwiches are walnut chicken salad, Albacore tuna salad, egg salad, and smoked turkey on cranberry wild rice bread. Bru House also delivers boxed lunches to area businesses. A full menu can be found at www.thebruhouse.com
As for beverages, the most popular coffee drink, Barton says, is the white mocha, “hands down.” And as summer approaches, she says non-coffee drinkers and coffee drinkers alike can get excited about the Bru House’s fresh squeezed lemonade.
Folks can find the Bru House at 1431-A, Silver Lake Road, in New Brighton, and the Bru Thru at the other end of the building at 1441 Silver Lake Road, online at www.thebruhouse.com or on Instagram and Facebook.
the addition of a new kitchen in the Bru Thru space has opened the door for house-made baked goods such as breakfast muffins.