The coffee shops of Dinkytown have a special place in my heart. Expresso Royale, one of the first coffee shops I went to in Dinkytown, long before I even started at the University of Minnesota, is still one of my favorites. It has that independent coffee shop atmosphere; the aroma of freshly ground beans wafts throughout the shop, while the sounds of hipster lit majors mixes with those of the aspiring anti-establishment political science wonks. Over time their prices have risen, but given the rent in Dinkytown, I see that as a necessary evil.
The Purple Onion, on the other hand, has lost its way. Before it moved to its University Avenue location, it was a great place. Open. Loud. Full of thinkers and artists. It fit Dinkytown. The grungy artistic feel it once had has been replaced with a sterile downtown-loft like feel; more likely to be frequented by wall-streeters instead of 4th streeters. Its coffee prices, which have risen at a higher rate than any other coffee shop in Dinkytown (including Starbucks) are also more in line with wall-streeters.
|The Purple Onion at its old location on the corner of 4th street and 14th Ave. This location, which was split after the move, now houses a Potbelly and a Qdoba.|
Going to the PO (that's what the locals call it) just makes me feel sad; it has lost all the character it once had. It is crazy to say, and I cringe as I write it, but currently the Dinkytown Starbucks has more soul than the PO. So for now, PO, I bid you adieu. Perhaps I will see again one day. If you need to find me, I will be at Expresso Royale.