Hmmmmm, I wonder who the "Employee" was...

Cars-R-Coffins, 3346 Lyndale Ave. S.
The last shop on the tour was the nondescript (the storefront says only "coffee") Cars-R-Coffins, located at 3346 Lyndale. The place combined the owner's love of several things; namely, coffee, bikes and literature.
Opened in 2006, the shop sells both coffee and bicycles and performs bike maintenance, and makes about 50/50 in revenue from each in the summer, and a little more on coffee in the winter.
It was a simple decision, according to the owner, who as a freelance journalist found himself writing about bicycling at least as much as consuming coffee, so he opened a shop to focus on both. The place had a gauntlet of books from the esoteric "Horrifically Bad Album Covers," (featuring The H.O.T. Czechs: "Goin' Bankin"), to "The Literary Cyclist," and a hundred other books about the bike and efficient CFL [compact fluorescent light] bulbs in the ceiling to read by.
While drinking a cup of coffee, one of the employees regaled me with stories. In one such yarn, he spoke about how he once told off Al Franken while the comedian/author/politico was arguing with a cab driver. Franken, it seems, was in a hurry, and wanting a cab; and before the guy (now behind the counter) knew it, he had told Franken to shut his mouth. He insists, however, that he's a big fan of Al Franken to this day, and can prove it by a picture on his website, goathork.com. He recently had a chance to tell Mr. Franken "no hard feelings" at a recent fundraiser, "while wearing a giant bunny rabbit suit my wife bought me, because she knew I would love it," he said. Sure enough, his blog tells the full story, with photos. Indeed, the store itself has a website whose motto is "Bicycle, Punk Rock, Action," and judging by the writings there, it seems to pedal its case.
So, six coffee shops and six cups of coffee later, I had arrived feeling excited at least as much by the coffee shop, and its evolution, as by the coffee itself. All that was left to do was hop on my bike and burn some caffeine out of my system. Of course, there are even more coffee shops on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown, but that's perhaps for another day and set of arbitrary criteria.
Adam Overland would rather pet cats and drink coffee than write. If you would like to pay him to do either contact him at adamoverland@hotmail.com with subject line: "caffeinated cats."

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