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Artisans opens NU Chef’s pantry

Floral shop moves to new building

May 27, 2013
By Josh Moniz - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM The Artisans at the Grand restaurant has expanded outside its home at the Grand Center for the Arts and Culture to offer a coffee shop, new menu offerings and stimulate development in downtown New Ulm.

The coffee shop, NU Chef's Pantry, is an ambitious undertaking for Artisans that will boost the variety of foods it can offer after the renovations to the Grand is completed this August.

First, it will offer a coffee drinks made by Cornerstone Coffee owner Lori Standafer, who had her Minnesota Street business bought out as part of the expansion. The shop will offer a small, concise menu designed by Artisans' chef Topher Jacobson that revolves around panini sandwiches, homemade soups and coffee shop treats.

Article Photos

Staff photo by Josh Moniz

Hope and Faith Floral, which previously occupied the Chef's Pantry building, moved next door by purchasing the old Carousel Clothing building. The floral business has an expanded showroom.

Chef's Pantry, which is owned by Topher Jacobson, includes a coffee shop and sales of artisan breads. It also plans to offer cooking classes. The Pantry is a complementary business to Artisans at the Grand, which is also operated by Jacobson in the Grand Hotel building.

Second, the shop will sell fresh-baked breads. The additional space of the coffee shop allowed for the expansion of the bread making. Bread varieties will change with seasons and customer preferences, and they will be made fresh every day. The breads will be made without preservatives or artificial accelerators.

Finally, the new site will be used to expand the menu of the Artisans at the Grand restaurant. The production space will allow the restaurant to start offering soups and breads. Jacobson said the new storefront will be most important as additional production space, because the current location in the Grand is too small to accommodate growth.

By August, the Grand will have completed its renovation, and Artisans will have a wood-fired oven, which will be used for pizzas and flat breads for the coffee shop. The operation will exchange foods back and forth between the two sites to expand offerings at both locations.

Artisans plans to hire three to four more employees. One will be a bakery expert to work exclusively with perfecting their breads.

Jacobson also plans to offer cooking classes out of the coffee shop space. Many classes will be partnered with the Heart of New Ulm project. If the classes prove popular enough, he may start a top tier paid series of classes with well-known Twin Cities chefs visiting for demonstrations.

Finally, the NU Chef's Pantry plans to stay connected with locals, share information and poll for favorite food offerings with its blog at

Hope and Faith

Floral moves, expands

While Artisans has expanded into the former Hope and Faith Floral storefront, Hope and Faith Floral has moved in next door and taken ownership of the old Carousel Clothing building.

The business has renovated the space. It exposed the original brick walls and stylized tin ceiling.

Hope and Faith co-owner Ryan Visher said he and his wife Lisa wanted to produce a feeling of old Blumen Markets found in Germany.

"The blooms of the floral really jump out against the barn wood, tin and brick," said Lisa Visher.

Visher said the new location will retain the same products and floral offerings. However, he said the expanded space will allow it to offer more gardening selections in the summer and Christmas selections in the winter.

(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at



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