Harmony Corner Café

new downtown café features organic, fair trade fare

Bailey Berg, photos by Andrea Paulseth

 
The original business was part of the Old Elbow School Shop in the Mall Drive shopping center. As the small coffeehouse flourished, the owners decided to open a larger eatery featuring local menu items.

    While Harmony Corner Café has only set up shop at its Barstow Street location for a couple weeks, business is already booming. In the first two weeks since opening, Harmony has sold dozens of their home-made vegan cookies daily, heaps of fresh-picked, organic lettuce, gallons of hearty soup, and perhaps enough Paninis to feed a small country.

When I met with owners Greg and Kathy Brice, they barely had a moment to sit down and talk, so instead I was treated to a first-hand view of operations, and as the staff kneaded several thick loaves of bread, we discussed the Chippewa Valley’s need for fresh, organic food, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Armed with the motto, “Eat Local, Eat Well,” the new Harmony Corner Café offers everything they had before and a whole lot more. Two huge seating areas feature everything from intimate tables to comfy couches. Greg said, “One cool thing people have told me is that the front of the store is so different from the back. They have a different feel.” Nestled in the back is a large stage that has already hosted full jazz groups, barbershop quartets, and acoustic guitarists, along with Greg himself, a longtime musician.

The original business started as part of the Old Elbow School Shop in the Mall Drive shopping center and was the brainchild of the Brices’ son Clayton, who had envisioned a place for locals to get fair trade coffee. The small coffeehouse flourished, and, soon sights were set on opening a larger eatery that would feature local and organic items in the building that was once Dessert First. When the idea took off, Greg took to crafting the interior while Kathy headed to the kitchen to create signature homemade foods. Even their son Aaron helped with the graphic design and made all the employee uniforms.

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