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Friday, November 20, 2009

Cafe Brenda to Close Doors

When I think of vegetarian friendly cities, Minneapolis is not at the top of my list. Instead, I think of Portland with its many vegan cafes filled with tattooed-bicycle-riding-free-spirits. Or I think of the San Francisco area where fresh produce is plentiful and everyone sports great complexions. Or I even think of New York City where just because of the sheer diversity in the city there are vegetarian options available almost anywhere you look.

However, Minneapolis is surprisingly ranked #7 on and while we may not have as many options as the other cities I mentioned, we still have a great vegetarian restaurant scene. There is Ecopolitan for raw and vegan goodies, French Meadow Bakery for awesome Tempeh Reubens, Pizza Luce for tasty mock duck combos, and Delights of India and Nala Pak if you’re craving Indian. Of course there are quite a few more great veg-friendly restaurants in the cities, but my original favorite is Café Brenda.

Brenda Langton is a pioneer in the vegetarian and local foods movements. She and her husband started Café Brenda 23 years ago and followed it up with Spoonriver in 2008. Not only did Brenda run both restaurants, but she also was the co-founder of my favorite market, Mill City Farmers Market, located along the Mississippi River.  The neat thing about Cafe Brenda is that although it produces quality vegetarian food, the menu also includes items for their omnivore friends, all while keeping local and sustainable in mind.

So, when I heard the news that Café Brenda was to close their doors, I was speechless. How could a great staple like this cease to exist? I know of many couples (including myself and my husband) that spent their anniversaries dining over organic greens and brown rice or sharing a plate of hummus and pitas along with a glass of wine.

To us, this news is incredibly sad. I will miss Café Brenda, but of course I will remain positive as Brenda Langton is not someone to sit still for very long. She is an innovative leader in Twin Cities’ food and I look forward to whatever she cooks up next.  In the meantime, I am going to try to squeeze in one last visit to say farewell as the anticipated closing date is December 5th.


  1. SO sad to hear this - and I have never even been :( I've been meaning to go forever! Maybe I can try to get there before it closes. If not, Spoonriver is at the top of my list.

  2. I know! I'm bummed about this too -- I've enjoyed more than one birthday/other occasion dinner there! We were going to go tonight for one last time, but got a gift card to Sea Change instead. Hope we can still make it before the 5th.

  3. Cafe Cyan-
    you make it sound like Brenda is quitting. She is very busy with Spoonriver, her newer restaurant. It is a different kind of place than Cafe Brenda for sure. I think we should be praising what we liked about Cafe Brenda though, and wishing Brenda well.

  4. Faith - that's the spirit! I love what Brenda Langton has done for the Twin Cities and glad you see it too.


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