FIKA at the American Swedish Institute

August 25, 2016
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Known for its locally inspired interpretation of Nordic cuisine, the modern café FIKA has quickly become a favorite of the Twin Cities restaurant scene. Since it opened, FIKA has drawn customers from all over the city and garnered plenty of critical acclaim for its chef-driven fare.

With a light and airy aesthetic, FIKA fits in well at its home in the American Swedish Institute (ASI), just south of downtown Minneapolis. Synthesizing modern Scandinavian architecture with traditional Swedish construction, the space is contemporary and inviting. Both ASI and FIKA offer a glimpse (and a taste) of tradition and innovation from Minnesota’s Nordic homeland.

Despite Minnesota’s famed Scandinavian heritage, “Fika,” is not a word you hear every day. But the concept is simple: “Fika” describes a daily break, a quiet time to catch up with friends and family, usually over coffee. The atmosphere of FIKA lends easily to its namesake. With great food and ample seating, the café has become locally iconic and nationally recognized, receiving mentions in The New York Times and Vogue.

A glimpse into The American Swedish Institutes cafe FIKA

A glimpse into The American Swedish Institutes cafe FIKA

Led by chef John Krattenmaker, the menu features both traditional and modern interpretations of Swedish cuisine: house made pastries, open-faced sandwiches, and creative salads, all influenced by Swedish recipes old and new. And with a name like FIKA, coffee is essential—the café serves espresso beverages and drip coffee all day long, featuring none other than Tiny Footprint Coffee.

Salad from the award winning FIKA cafe

Lemon Spätzle, a traditional Scandinavian dish

On a recent visit to the café, we were able to try out their latest menu, reflecting more seasonally innovative dishes for summer. Finding a balance between classic Nordic dishes and creative technique and flavor pairings, the FIKA menu reflects the ASI’s unique architectural juxtaposition of the traditional and the contemporary.

 When it comes to coffee, FIKA serves our Peru Apu Cenfrocafe. The café has been carrying this smooth single origin for years—the organic Peruvian medium roast even makes an appearance in FIKA’s famous chocolate torte.

A twist on the traditional open faced sandwich

A twist on the traditional open faced sandwich featuring Juniper Fennel Sasuage

“We love the coffee so much,” says Michael Cochran, FIKA Café’s Food and Beverage Director. “Tiny Footprint has been providing it from day one.” And we’re happy to do so, praise from our customers means a lot to us— we work hard to maintain strong relationships with our partners. For us at Tiny, great relationships start and continue with a perfect cup of coffee.

 

With FIKA, our partnership feels natural. Beyond FIKA and Tiny’s shared local roots, the environmental dedication of ASI melds perfectly with Tiny Footprint’s commitment to the Earth. The ASI’s 2012 addition of the Nelson Cultural Center to it’s orginal home in the 1908 Turnblad mansion/castle, brims with environmental consciousness; the addition, which includes FIKA, is LEED Gold Certified and integrates composting, recycling and usage of postconsumer material. Carbon negative coffee seemed an obvious next step.

A stunning tribute to Scandinavian heritage, FIKA offers a chance for everyone to embrace the definition of the word—no matter your background. So next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop by to get a cup of Tiny Footprint Coffee and a taste of Swedish Culture.