Swede Hollow Cafe's new chef plans more local fare

Swede Hollow Cafe patio
Andrew Ciscel via Flickr.com

St. Paul's Swede Hollow Café, best known for its cinnamon rolls and verdant patio, has a new man in the kitchen. Ali Koroglu, most recently the sous chef at Café Barbette in Minneapolis, took over the one-burner kitchen at Swede Hollow earlier this summer. He hopes to steer the coffee shop-bakery-café toward more locally sourced food, with an eye on the café's neighbor, the Community Design Center.

"Right next door to the cafe there's this really awesome garden, the Community Design Center," Koroglu says. "They employ these children and they show them organic farming. It's really bad-ass. In the future I'd really like to use more of their product, maybe talk to them before they do their planting and have them grow things specifically for us."

For the time being, Koroglu is still figuring out what the café's customers crave--its breakfast pastries and Roastery 7 coffee are the main draws--by testing different daily specials. "Sometimes I'll put a really crazy special out there to see if it goes over well," he says. Some of his recent experiments include ancho-roasted pork loin with a jicama and black bean slaw and Reuben sandwiches with a roasted garlic--Dijon sauce instead of the usual Thousand Island or Russian dressing.

In the fall, Koroglu plans to incorporate root vegetables and squash into his specials. He would also like to see pizza on the café's menu, since one of his cooking jobs during an eight-year stint in Seattle was at a pizzeria. "We make really awesome focaccia, and we make our own doughs," he says of Swede Hollow. "I think pizza dough is very similar to focaccia. It's totally doable."

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Swede Hollow Cafe

725 E. 7th St., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

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