Spring on 34th Avenue


Art by Nia Simone at SunBean Coffee Shop


Clusters of fun and joy dot 34th Avenue

As I also mentioned in “Spring on East 38th Street,” a Racket.com article from April 17 listed their take on “the 13 best intersections in Minneapolis,” and the single street that occurred the most was 50th Street, which was in three of the 13 intersections. One of those was the 34th Avenue and 50th Street crossing, which is only a block away from the beloved Nokomis Library and Oxendale’s Market, and does have some of the most interesting retail shops, restaurants and bars in the neighborhood. But not all of 34th Avenue’s attractions are on that one corner.
Another interesting little stretch is the block of storefronts at 46th Street, where the corner spot has housed a classic neighborhood bar (once called the Sunrise Inn) going back at least as far as the 1950s. The space is now occupied by Bull’s Horn, which has already become a real neighborhood institution since it opened in 2017. Bull’s Horn is a modern take on the ever-popular “dive bar, but for families,” something South Minneapolis does so well. They are very neighborhood-oriented, hosting many community and pop-up events in Standish-Ericsson.
That block has had several incoming businesses in the past few years that have really

Annie and Fred DuBose at the grand opening of SunBean
Coffee Shop

picked up the foot traffic and had people coming out to enjoy community. Primary among them, because it was designed for just that, is a new place called SunBean Coffee Shop. It is also the most recent, having just opened in late February. SunBean Coffee Shop is the brainchild of Fred DuBose and his co-owner and life partner Annie DuBose. It’s also one of the growing number of BIPOC-owned coffee shops in the Twin Cities area. They opened during the last week of Black History Month.
The concept behind SunBean, beautifully realized, is to double down on the community-oriented facets of the traditional coffee shop, eschewing ordering apps and impersonal service. The space at 4553 34th Ave. had been vacant for years and required extensive rebuilding (well documented on the shop’s Facebook page) and the focus of the decor is on mental health and community. A “SunBar” across from the counter has an array of small, personal SAD therapy lamps to supplement the sunbeams when they’re not that strong. Art adorns the walls, greenery is present, there is a lush and sunny indoor mural in the back, and the service is very friendly. A dog-friendly sidewalk seating area is coming into use as the weather warms up. A percentage of profits is donated to mental health charities.
So how is the food and drink? Based on only one visit so far, good, even

The Bitter Buffalo’s Gillian McLaughlin

great! The coffee is a custom medium roast from local roaster True Stone. For food, there is a tempting pastry case full of muffins, Danish pastries, and products from Fruit & Grain, a small, local bakery. They were profiled by Racket.com’s Em Cassell in April 2022 under the subtitle “Justice for the Pop-Tart!” I tried a strawberry cardamom pop-tart at the shop with my double espresso, (my friend had the bourbon salted caramel cold brew, which looked amazing) and also brought home a hand pie
filled with cream cheese and caramelized veggies and topped with everything seasoning. Both were outstanding.
Two other businesses in the space are Freshly Cut, a barber shop, and The Bitter Buffalo, a shop producing hand-pulled screen printing on fabric (T-shirts or whatever you like), or paper (signs, posters, flyers), but specializing in fabrics. The Bitter Buffalo is owned and operated by artist and professional screen-printer Gillian McLaughlin, who founded the business in Northeast Minneapolis in 2012. The business moved to 34th Avenue in 2022, taking the space vacated by Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association (SENA) when they transitioned to working

Fruit & Grain’s imaginative pop-tarts

from home.
Freshly Cut has been in this space since 2005. Currently staffed by four Master Barbers, Freshly Cut prides itself on its clean, traditionally appointed space and its loyal customer base, with a 4.8 out of 5-star rating. Their services include regular and specialty haircuts as well as mustache and beard care and trimming. You could even opt for the classic barber shop experience of a straight razor shave with a hot towel finish. They have reasonable prices and offer a further $2 discount for military personnel and seniors.

At 50th Street and 34th Avenue (and beyond)

Yet another eatery, Fusion Pancake House & Bistro, has been holding

Strawberry crepes from Fusion Pancake House & Bistro

down the corner spot at 34th Avenue and 50th Street since July 2023. The “fusion” is mostly Latino, with many classic Latino breakfast and dinner items, but there are Asian and Italian influences as well, plus some plain old American things like steak, a Caesar salad and Buffalo wings. They serve breakfast/brunch seven days a week starting at 7 a.m., and dinner from 4 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
A fairly longtime presence on the block is Town Hall Lanes, an outpost of the popular Town Hall Brewery as well as a full-service restaurant plus a modern 10-lane bowling alley. It’s a popular venue for large parties and after-work meetups, as well as a neighborhood favorite. A very longtime presence is the small but versatile grocery store, Oxendale’s Market. I love Oxendale’s; its perfect size makes shopping quick, the service is

Bar plus bowling at the Town Hall Lanes

friendly, and they have an excellent selection for a smaller market.
Several blocks south of 50th there are a couple of other neighborhood stalwarts. It’s always good to have a good car repair shop, and Nokomis has a branch of Nelson’s Automotive on 34th Avenue at 54th Street. A small company with four stand-alone locations plus a presence in the Green Garage on Nicollet, their reputation is solid. And finally, at 5406 34th Ave. S., is yet another great place to have breakfast, and another long-lasting neighborhood business: Berry Sweet Kitchen. They serve only breakfast, though they’re open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed Monday) so you could have “breakfast for lunch.”

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