Minnesota Farmers Union and Birchwood Cafe collaborate for F + B pop-up restaurant
August 18, 2020
There may be no State Fair this year, but the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) and Birchwood Cafe team are still serving up their fair favorite – the Minnesota-grown Heirloom Tomato + Sweet Corn BLT – and much more.
Based on a shared commitment to Minnesota family farmers, this proven partnership has been a success for several years at the Minnesota State Fair. Now they are moving forward to open F + B, a pop-up concept restaurant at 750 South 2nd Street in Minneapolis. F is for Farmers Union and B is for Birchwood. Together, F + B equals a delicious, locally sourced collaboration for Good Real Food sourced directly from Minnesota family farms.
The space, formerly home to the renowned restaurant Spoonriver, which was founded and run by local food pioneer Brenda Langton, will remain mostly as-is through the duration of the pop up, with minor changes for optimal safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. MFU and Birchwood have been planning to open a restaurant in this location for several months now. Amid hard times in the restaurant industry, the partners are delighted about this pop-up takeout opportunity.
“Of course this wasn’t exactly what we envisioned when we announced our new endeavor last fall, but when COVID-19 hands you lemons, you make Lavender Lemonade, right?” said Birchwood founder Tracy Singleton. “What’s essential right now is keeping our staff employed, uplifting and showcasing our local farmers and bringing our Good Real Food—food sourced, prepared and served toward cultivating a more equitable world—to a new audience downtown. To that end, F + B will follow Birchwood’s One House philosophy as a no-tipping establishment. Looking ahead, we’re excited to collaborate with the Shea design team to transform the space to best serve our new neighborhood’s needs. We see this pop-up as a test run to help us figure that out.”
“Farmers who do business with restaurants have been hit doubly hard by the pandemic, and the pop-up is a great way for Twin Cities residents to support both farmers and restaurants,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “As generations get further removed from the farm, it’s important to reconnect consumers to farmers through their food, something the folks at Birchwood do really well. At Farmers Union, we advocate for Minnesota family farmers and we aim to build on that food connection to raise awareness for the issues our farmers face.”
A celebration of farm-community connections, the opening menu at F + B will feature Minnesota State Fair Farmers Union Coffee Shop favorites alongside Birchwood seasonal specialties. Spoonriver fans will recognize a few items created to pay tribute to Langton’s legacy. As the season changes, so too will the menu and inspirations.
The menu will be available for walk-up and curbside pickup, as well a limited amount of patio seating. Additionally, there are picnic-site options in close proximity — with Stone Arch Bridge, Mill City Park and the spacious Guthrie plaza all steps away from F + B. It’s also close to public transportation and the beautiful bike trails along the River Road.
“The Mississippi River has always been a part of our identity in Seward, and our new venture downtown brings us even closer to it, front and center with our region’s history and foodways,” Singleton said.
The F + B pop-up is scheduled to be open beginning Thursday, August 20 for dinner and be open weekly Thursday-Sunday from 4-8 p.m., with brunch available on weekends and lunch hours and delivery to be added soon. Days of service and hours may expand.
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About Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to all. Learn more at www.mfu.org.
About Birchwood Cafe
A Minneapolis icon and leader in the local-food movement, Birchwood Cafe has been serving “Good Real Food”—sourced directly from local farmers, grown with care for people and planet—and cultivating community in the Seward neighborhood for 25 years. More info at www.birchwoodcafe.com