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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Café Steam set to open second location

Café Steam set to open second location

After three years of operation in downtown Rochester, Café Steam is preparing to open a second location in the Hilton DoubleTree hotel.

Co-owner William Forsman says the skyway-level space will maintain the "warm, inviting atmosphere" that the current Café Steam is known for.

He told us the new shop, set to open in June, will also offer more consistent and extended hours than the previous tenant, a Starbucks, while encouraging a more sit-in style experience.

“This is a big move for us, because we are so small,” said Forsman. “But as we’ve grown we’ve seen our pursuit of good coffee and role as a community-centered coffee shop grow too into something more. We’re propelled by a mindset that borrows a lot from Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,’ which promotes a café as serving not only as a place of food and drink but as a refuge or an in-between space — neither home nor work."

Opening a second location downtown, he added, will extend the bandwidth for the business — allowing for shorter lines and more available seating. The two spaces are only about two blocks apart.

“We know there is a demand for more walk-through traffic in this location than in the original Café Steam," said Forsman, "so we will be learning to accommodate that but we will not limit our focus on quality."

Like the first Steam, the new shop will continue to highlight local artists and vendors. According to Forsman, the DoubleTree spot will have an expanded list of offerings, including sandwiches and salads from Bleu Duck, baked goods from Prescotts and Top Tier Delights, direct import teas courtesy of Mandala Tea, and on-tap kombucha provided by Bootlegger Brewing.

Steam's expansion comes as two other coffee shops looks to capitalize on the demand brewing downtown for java. Fiddlehead Coffee, already with a location in Forager Brewery, plans to open later the summer in the Flats on 4th apartment building. And Moka, which has two drive-thru locations in town, is adding a sit-down location along Peace Plaza.

Cover photo courtesy business

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