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Local Architects Picked To Design Restaurant Expansion

Seward's Birchwood Cafe is facing cramped conditions and soaring popularity.

On Tuesday morning, the Seward neighborhood's Birchwood Cafe announced a new design for their expansion, designed by East Harriet architecture firm Locus Architecture.

Locus focuses on sustainable design, in keeping with Birchwood's locavore ethic. 

"The new building is meant to be as sustainable as the menu," Locus' Wynne Yelland told Patch in an email, with "living walls of growing plants, a rain garden, energy efficient appliances, super-insulated walls, LED lighting, reclaimed building materials, natural ventilation, day lighting, and the potential for PV or thermal arrays."

With its popularity rapidly expanding and its four walls firmly unwilling to move of their own accord, Birchwood's expansion also needed to expand the eatery's capacity. 

"They've been doing their absolute best to deliver on their promise of Good Real Food, using a tiny kitchen better suited to a small diner," Yelland wrote. "Given the size of the kitchen, it's an Amazonian task to deliver on the demand for hand crafted plates of fresh food."

Yelland said he hopes the building will be a boon to the neighborhood, with a spruced-up alleyway facade to hide the restaurant's trash bins, expanded bicycle parking, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and a separate register for grab-and-go orders.

The next step, though, is to get official approval for the project. It comes before Minneapolis' City Planning Commission this week. 

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Peter Fleck October 06, 2012 at 04:40 PM
It's interesting that the Patch ignores all of the neighborhood history on the Birchwood expansion. You state that Birchwood just unveiled the plans while in reality, they 'unveiled' them several weeks ago at a community meeting. And then at the subsequent Seward Community Development Committee meeting where about 200 (Seward) people showed up and voted overwhelmingly in support of the expansion. I think the whole process should have been covered in this article as an example of the local democratic process. Those interested can check the minutes from the development committee meeting. http://goo.gl/zn5V6

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