Black Coffee and Waffle Bar started out in Minneapolis in 2014, when it was cofounded by the owner of a now defunct coffee shop called Muddsuckers. It is worth noting that at some point he did a complete 180 when it came to naming his businesses. Black Coffee and Waffle Bar has done very well in Minneapolis owing primarily to two factors — you might guess what they are. They have done their namesakes so well, in fact, that they’ve just opened up their newest location in downtown Fargo.
I spoke with Keli Gilbertson, Black Coffee and Waffle Bar’s production and sales manager, as she was driving back from Fargo, where had she stayed for nine weeks in order to make certain that everything about the new cafe would be just so. “When we first started out,” said Keli, “we wanted to make it more of a coffee shop with waffles…but the waffles would wind up becoming the star attraction.”
“We prepare everything for our waffles in-house,” explained Keli. “And we pride ourselves on using as many local, sustainable ingredients as we’re able. Every morning we make a fresh batch of batter with hand separated eggs, and in Fargo we exclusively use milk from Cass-Clay Creamery. Our fresh waffles take a little longer to cook, but they’re light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet. And they’re huge — I think that and our pretty lattes have been a big reason for our popularity on Instagram.”
I could not resist sitting in front of one of these waffles for long enough to take a photo of it. It does not matter, because I don’t have Instagram and people would think I’m weird for showing them a picture of a waffle saved on my phone. Black Coffee and Waffle Bar has got the Fat Andrew, buried in peanut butter and bananas and topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, and cinnamon. Their aptly named Strawberry Cheesecake has got homemade cheesecake spread on top of it, with strawberries and crumbled up graham crackers and whipped cream. I say that the best of the best is the One Bad Pig, with a quarter pound of ham and melted swiss. But if you are an engineer of fine breakfast foods yourself, then you can build your own ideal waffle à la carte.
Fargoans, take note: Black Coffee and Waffle Bar has done you an exceptional favor by making your location the only one with the Loaded Potato on its menu. It is made of hashbrown rather than batter, and adorned like a baked spud from a steakhouse.
Of course, this isn’t just the place where you go to have a giant waffle. It’s a homey sort of joint, with potted plants and comfy furniture where you can spread out and unload for a while. And to do that, as you know, you’ve got to have a good cup of mud. “We roast all of our coffee beans ourselves in St. Paul,” said Keli. “They come from across the world, always from ethical growers, and we only prepare them in batches of five pounds so we can really fine-tune just how they come out. We prefer a light roast, because it keeps the coffee’s subtler notes of cherry, peach, and lime intact.”
“Although we often give people their first jobs preparing coffee, most of our staff is made up of career barristas. I’m proud to say that we’ve now got some of the best in Fargo behind our bar. They are able to make lattes with beautiful rosettas and bold line work, which makes coming to us for coffee an occasion instead of something routine. It still tastes the same, but it really shows just how much care we put into making our drinks.”
Any situation would be improved with the addition of a giant waffle and a nice coffee. To see about getting those exquisite things for yourself, head on over to 550 2nd Ave N in Fargo, or visit blackcoffeeandwaffle.com.
By David Scheller