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Voyageur's Best Generally Speaking of 2005

'Thanks a Latte'

‘Thanks a Latte’
The Roasting House recently opened just north of McGregor
by Cynthia Brekke  |  July 5, 2005

If you’re driving north on Highway 65, and come to Sather’s corner, you will see something different these days. The building that once housed a laundromat is now open, in a new capacity. Diane Sather had an idea to breathe new life into the abandoned laundromat building and, after much refurbishing and remodeling, has created the new hot spot on the corner... The Roasting House opened on Wednesday, June 22.

Business has been booming, even though there’s no signage on the highway as yet. “I wanted to start out slow,” Diane began explaining, “and kinda ‘ease’ into it. We opened and it started out with a bang.”

The first noticeable thing when pulling up to The Roasting House is the quaint seating area outside with flowers under the awnings. The inside is quite spacious and nicely designed, with a hint of Mediterranean flair. Seating can range from intimate to group, and there’s even a small table and chairs for the younger set, complete with crayons and coloring books to keep those busy hands busy.

Speaking of hands, many have been lended to bring The Roasting House to reality. Diane’s husband, Curt, and their family has played a key role in the cafe’s opening, while Diane did her own designing.

“If you like it, I picked the colors... if you don’t, Curt did!” she laughed. It’s an inside joke. She explained that she had wanted a fresh, lime green for the bathroom but, when she opened the can, it looked fluorescent green. Not wanting to waste paint, she used it in the office to see if she liked it. The electricians gave the first thumbs down on the color. “Greg and Tom came to do some of the lights and they said, ‘Oh, who picked that color... it’s the ugliest color I’ve ever seen,’ and I told them, ‘Now, don’t you tell Curt because that’s the one color I let him pick in here and I don’t want his feelings hurt,’” she laughed again. “Tom still thinks Curt picked that color!”

Brother Bob built the counter area from a brief description she gave him of how she wanted it to look. “I came back from coffee training the same night and it was done!” she said. “He’s fast, he’s good... he’s cheap! Just feed him a little now and give him free coffee and he’s happy.” Diane seems very satisfied with how everything turned out.

One might think, by the name, that The Roasting House caters to the coffee set but don’t let the name fool you. There’s a number of offerings to be had, besides the variety of specialty coffee, which includes Latté, Cappuccino, ultimate Mocha and Turtle Mocha. There’s a wide variety of non-coffee drinks (hot and cold) to choose from as well, ranging from Chai and regular hot teas, cocoa, steamers, specialty sodas, and smoothies of various, delicious flavors.

The Roasting House serves breakfast and lunch as well, with specials daily for each. Lunch was the meal the Voyageur crew enjoyed there last week. Eight of us: Memory and her husband (who doesn’t like to be named); Sadie Frericks, writer and proof reader; Kaylyn Messer, intern photographer; Erin Suhonen, editor; Nickole Caspersen, ad composition and design; Kerry Nelson, advertising manager; and little ol’ me.

The Roasting House has a good variety of sandwiches to choose from, including ones called ‘Panini’s’ which Diane says have been popular. A Panini is an Italian inspiration consisting of hearty bread and fresh ingredients, pressed in a grill and served warm. The Rueben and Turkey sandwiches come this way. Also served are salads, wraps, and a bagel, with all accompanied by gourmet chips or a fruit cup.

My choice for the day was the special: a cold chicken salad croissant, consisting of diced chicken, celery, onion, slivered almonds, pineapple and creamy dressing on a fresh croissant, served with a bowl (and I mean a BOWL) of creamy chicken wild rice soup. I ordered the Minnesota Smoothie for my drink. I was very satisfied with my choice, as the sandwich was flavorful and the soup was as well. Everything was tasty, and our table full of eight Voyageurs fell silent when the food came... a testimonial to the concentration and enjoyment of the meal.

Even though most of us were stuffed, Diane offered a slice of each of their sweets for us to sample. “There’s always room for dessert,” Nikki piped up with a big grin. There were macaroon brownies, carrot cake and bread pudding, and pies including strawberry, blueberry cream cheese, and key lime. “I’m so full, but it’s so good,” our publisher with no name uttered. They were delicious, all of them, and we all savored a taste of each before settling on a favorite. For me, it was a toss up between the blueberry cream cheese and the key lime. Kerry had a savory slice of blueberry cream cheese in front of him as well, but he’d lost his eating tools when his plate was cleared away. “I’d do anything for a utensil,” he moaned as he attempted to eat it with a butter knife. Diane came to the rescue with a fork.

Diane’s staff at The Roasting House consists of Paula Jackson, Angie Kuppich, Ricky Burke, Sheila Mate, Stephanie Schneller, Rachel and Stacey Sather and, of course, Doc Watson. “He’s my chief worker!” Diane said. Ricky Burke’s grand daughter, Alexa Sornsen, will be joining the staff this summer.

Coming soon to the Roasting House, and hopefully (according to Diane) installed by the time this goes to press, will be DSL capability, making it an Internet Cafe as well. Patrons will be able to have friendly service, good food, great liquid refreshments and tell someone half way across the world what they’re missing.

Hours for the Roasting House are: Sundays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; M,W,TH, and Sat., 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesdays. Take outs are available by calling ahead at 218-426-5466.

So, what’s with the headline for this write-up? When leaving the Roasting House, the words on the door are: Thanks A Latté.


This article first appeared in the July 5, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.