Originally slated to open three months ago on the last day of May, Adagio Cafe’s opening now comes on the heels of Labor Day. Taking over the space previously inhabited by Dragonfly Coffee, Adagio Cafe brings espresso back to the corner of 50th and Penn.
Chris Yeager, owner of the new coffee and pastries joint, divulged some setbacks he’s faced over the summer, which forced the cafe’s opening from Memorial Day weekend to the last days before the school year starts up again. While organizing arrangements with beverage and food suppliers, Yeager said he also went through four months of frustrating back and forth with the City.
“First they said we couldn’t do a coffee shop,” Yeager said–even though the space had most recently been just that. “I was stunned. It was a really rotten place to be when you’re starting your first business.”
Prior to starting Adagio, he cooked at Saks' Fifth Avenue and managed a Caribou Coffee.
Rather than work against the City, Yeager chose to adapt and compromise. After altering some plans—like relinquishing his idea of an in-house oven for baking bread and pastries—the cafe has been tweaked and Yeager’s patience tested, but today, the wait is over. Starting at noon, the public can stop by for a cup of Joe and a relaxing time with neighbors and friends.
That’s where the name of the cafe comes from, after all.
“Adagio means "to slow down" in musical terms,” Yeager said. “Our philosophy is that, too: hey folks, take it easy, drink some coffee, relax in a comfortable chair.”
And it’s not just a metaphor. Yeager, who has been a musician since he was a boy, plans to bring music into the space in a literal way as well. There will be live music, occasional workshops, and Yeager’s guitar resting in the corner for anyone who feels inclined to play.
Getting his coffee and Sweetbird smoothies and sauces from Minneapolis-based roaster and supplier B+W Specialty Coffee, and his bakery items from Grandma’s Bakery in White Bear Lake, Yeager said he’s keeping things local as much as possible. After following his nose into Isles Bun & Coffee last weekend, he said he is pursuing the possibility of sourcing pastries from them as well.
Yeager said his central plan is to listen to the community and shape the cafe accordingly.
“I want to listen to the neighborhood and get feedback. That’s what’s going to make us different,” he said.
Stop in today from noon to 9 p.m. and tell Yeager what you think. Starting tomorrow, Adagio Cafe will open at its regular time of 6:30 a.m.
As for that in-house oven, Yeager’s not giving up on the idea quite yet.
“We are still working with the city for a set up on a small oven to bake breads, muffins, cookies and scones here,” Yeager said.
Until then, he’s focusing on what he says Adagio Cafe will do best: quality espresso and coffee.