Whether it’s coffee, sandwiches, wine tasting, or live music, The Beanery Cafe and Roastery have been providing their services to the town of Aitkin since 2005. As of Tuesday, Aug. 6, the Beanery has extended its brand to a neighboring community. Owners Peter and Amanda Lowe have begun leasing a new property just north Garrison, and the location will offer the same coffee drinks and sandwiches found in Aitkin.
Amanda Lowe was the original owner of the Beanery when it opened its doors in 2005, but her husband, Peter, who also owns Grandma’s Pantry and the Block North Pub in Aitkin, purchased the location for her two years ago. Peter said that he liked the idea of owning a coffee shop next door to Grandma’s Pantry. SInce he purchased the location, the Beanery has begun roasting its own coffee beans and incorporating Grandma’s Pantry produce into the menu. “But it’s always been the same sort of place,” he added. “We’ve got wine and beer and Friday night music.”
The opportunity to start leasing in Garrison came up within the last month, Peter added. The land had recently been purchased by an associate of Peter’s, who approached him and Amanda at Block North about leasing the property.
The Garrison location will primarily focus on being a coffee shop, but Peter noted that he wanted the locations to offer similar experiences, coffee beverage-wise. The same specialty drink will be prepared with the same ingredients in the same manner at both shops. While the menu won’t be quite as big as the one in Aitkin, Peter said, it will still feature sandwiches, soups, fresh pastries and grab-and-go items.
In addition to the coffee shop, the Garrison location will also house a small gift shop as well. Amanda owns Aitkin Flowers, Peter explained, and the gift shop will offer a new venue for some of her wares. “We have a lot of unique products,” he said, “so now we can take those and see what happens here.”
A miniature golf course is also attached to the property. Peter described the course as “old school” and noted work was being done to refurbish it. “It’s just your standard, old mini golf course,” he said. “While parents are having a cup of coffee, kids can go outside and play a round of mini golf. It’s something all ages can do.”
“I think it’s a great location,” Peter said. “And, you know, people drink coffee year round.” Peter hoped he could bring a business to the area that could contribute throughout both the summer and winter seasons. “Our big thing is we try to make everybody happy with all the businesses we do.”
For the first year, Peter said the shop would focus on coffee. Depending on how things went, Peter mused on the possibility of future events, like the live music shows at Aitkin’s location. “Amanda and I are spur of the moment thinkers,” he said. “It’s a lot of ‘Let’s try this. This looks fun.’”
Peter’s family has owned Gramma’s Pantry for 32 years, and he grew up locally. Though he worked in the film industry as a chef for a number of years, he eventually found his way back to Minnesota. He recalled when there used to be a nine hole golf course and drive-in theatre at the Beanery’s location. “When I was a kid, there was a lot of coming down to Mille Lacs Lake to go swimming.” Mille Lacs has been a fixture of Peter’s life for many years, and he added, “We’re happy to bring a good product to the community.”
Amanda noted that the Garrison Beanery would be managed by Greta Goble, who had years of experience working at the Aitkin location. Amanda also concurred with Peter. “We really just excited to be a part of the community,” she said. “It feels like a natural fit for us, and we’re hopeful we can grow our business.”
Those who’d like to pay the new Beanery location a visit can find the shop at the intersection of Lilac Drive and Hwy. 169, a quarter mile past the Holiday Station.