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It wasn’t about the food but it absolutely was.

EVOKE’s Opening Day Menu – May, 2012

This is a place for transparency right? Sorta? Well, here is the truth…. EVOKE was never about the food. In fact, I did not even have much vision for the food side of this new thing we were creating. Jenni did (luckily). I knew I wanted it to be simple. Approachable but interesting. Repeatable (for our crew). Good.

Here is more truth: the food was really important. But how were we going to have good food but still be the coffee focused bar that we wanted to be? That was where the challenge came in.

Our first menu was based on simple, clean eats that looked great on the plate and that we hoped would go well with the coffee we were really trying to highlight. It was lite. Fresh. Easy.

We also wanted to have boards that people could share. Something that we thought might highlight “community” as well as coffee did. Something for the middle of the table (a way we still love eating today). Finger food if you will. A sort of menu that was “give us one of everything” sorts and not a massive personal selection.

It just all had to be great.

I haven’t looked at this menu in YEARS but this is where it all started. A menu made up of four sections: BAKED, SANDWICH, SALAD & SOUP, BOARDS and DESSERT.

That baked grilled cheese we had… on that fresh baked bread from Prairie Thunder Baking Company..

That cold cucumber soup in the summers…

Those table side s’mores…

The chocolate and cheese boards…

It was never really about the food at EVOKE but as I dig into past memories, I think it actually was.

That sort of fare was a part of the vision of what we could be for the community. A big table. A spot for friends and those trying to figuring each other out.

Looking back, this was my favorite menu we ever had at EVOKE. I’d say we probably became known for our Waffle menu (and that Waffle Sandwich) but, for me, the DNA of EVOKE lies in the menu we launched with.

I don’t regret moving on from it or any of the food experiences we tried out while I was there but sometimes simple is best.

That was when things always worked best at the cafe.

EVOKE: coffee and eatery.

Sometimes I think back on why we make changes and how sitting in that uncomfortable spot of stale and new.. innovative and comfortable.. simple and progressive. Bored and excited.

Those are the things that keep you going.

You ever come in to EVOKE? What was your favorite dish? Tell me about it!

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