An entrepreneurial husband-and-wife duo are starting a new café concept that will allow customers to enjoy a cup of espresso in a plant-filled tropical retreat — without having to leave Rochester.
Michelle and Shawn Fagan plan to open Café Aquí sometime this May in an expanded greenhouse space at Sargent’s garden center, 1811 2nd Street SW.
“There are so many drive through coffee shops in Rochester and we wanted to create the complete opposite of that,” said Shawn. “There’s no rush here. We want people to sit, to walk, to relax, to let their shoulders fall.”
The beverage menu will feature “top-notch espresso drinks,” such as cortados, lattes, cappuccinos, americanos, mochas, and Shawn’s personal favorite, a cortadito, which they experienced during a trip to Cuba.
On the food side, there will be a number of tasty options, including empanadas served with a tangy chimichurri and other sauces. Through their connections with local soccer clubs over the years, a number of South American flavors will also find their way onto the menu.
“One year we hosted a soccer coach from Brazil who was coaching with our local youth club, MN Rush (RYSA at the time),” said Shawn. “He and his family turned into very dear friends of our family and during his time with us, he taught us to make Pão de queijo, a common and favorite finger food of Brazilians, that we too now love and will include on our menu.”
Oh, and the final scoop: There will be Wisconsin-made ice cream, too.
SEARCHING FOR CLUES
More than a year after announcing plans to add a physical presence in Rochester, Google’s office on the second floor of the Conley-Maass-Downs building remains mostly quiet — but for how much longer?
That question was raised this week in a report from the Post-Bulletin, “No results found? A look into Rochester’s Google office.” It noted that while Google is requiring its Bay Area employees return in a hybrid model on April 4, the status of its Rochester office is somewhat of a mystery.
Reached on Wednesday, a Google spokesperson confirmed the company is reopening with a staggered approached and that Rochester, like many of its other offices, would remain open to workers on a voluntary basis.
The spokesperson, however, pushed back against the notion that it had changed gears on its plans for the Rochester office — saying the company continues to be “fully committed” to the original vision of the space.
“We’re full steam ahead. We are really excited to have people in the office, both with a lot of folks based locally, but also bringing in experts from across the globe [to work with Mayo Clinic],” the spokesperson said.
Google is not revealing how many people are now reporting to the Rochester office, nor has it provided any estimate on many employees it plans to eventually hire for the site, its first in Minnesota.
(In its initial announcement in February 2021, a company rep said it planned to start off with at least “a handful of Googlers” working in the space, with plans to add more staff over time.)
The office being occupied by Google is part of Collider Coworking, though it remains the only tenant of the space. All other members (this writer included) have relocated to the second floor of the BioBusiness Center.
Meanwhile, as the future of the office space remains in limbo, Google continues to collaborate with Mayo on a 10-year data partnership aimed at enhancing the delivery of health care through cloud computing, data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
TUNE IN ON THE TELLY
Finally, a few local businesses will get the Sunday spotlight.
This weekend, Rochester will be the featured community in “John McGivern’s Main Streets” television show. Some of the featured businesses will include ThaiPop, Pasquale’s Pizzeria, and Café Steam.
The episode is scheduled to air locally on Sunday, March 27 at 9:30 a.m. on FOX 47 in Rochester and on other stations across the Midwest.
Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.