“With monthly SCCA meetings we have been able to address many concerns and interests of the local businesses in a timely way.”
SCCA Member: Suzanne Weinstein, Coastal Seafoods

Seward Cafe

 

The Seward Café, at 2129 E Franklin Ave, is the oldest worker cooperative in Minneapolis. The Café has a long history in the Seward neighborhood and a rich tradition in community outreach. When it opened in 1974, the restaurant served lunch and dinner, as well as beer and wine. Two years later, Charles Richardson, then cook, began serving what is now known as the Earth breakfast. The Earth breakfast, which now could be considered the café’s main attraction, changed the orientation of the diner from being a lunch/dinner restaurant to a focus on the first meal of the day. Although they still serve lunch, dinner was gradually phased out, along with alcohol.

Much of the produce grown in the café’s garden over the summer finds its way to your plate! Seward Café serves vegan, vegetarian as well as meat products in their meals. All of their produce is organic and all of their meat products are free range, making the café appealing to people with diverse preferences. The café also puts a high priority on giving back to the community and to sustainable food practices. They donate food to charitable organizations and often serve any left over food and drinks at the end of the day for disadvantaged or homeless individuals.

Most of their clients live in the Seward, Phillips, Powderhorn and Longfellow neighborhoods. The Café is proud to support non-motorized transportation, and has even had to expand the amount of bike parking they provide to accommodate the number of employees and customers who choose that mode.

The restaurant is operated by a group of co-owners, known as the Radical Roots collective. The group makes important business decisions through consensus. Six months upon hiring, employees may request collective membership, this makes workers eligible for management positions as well as benefits. This approach is has led to an environment that is egalitarian and fosters personal growth and independence among employees. There can also be challenges to the co-op model, including identifying who is accountable for meeting new goals and finishing projects. The longevity and success of the Seward Community Café demonstrate that those challenges can be overcome, however, and that worker-owned collaborative companies have something unique to offer to our neighborhood.

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