By: Anthony Brousseau
Sharing a cup of coffee with a family member can be one of life's great pleasures, but can you imagine sharing a whole café?
Jack McCrery serves as co-owner and general manager of Zoe’s Cafe, which opened for business in the former location of Carley Coffee in late December of last year. He brought along the whole family, too. His mother, Zoe, is not only the café’s namesake, but also a co-owner, and “is responsible for every house-made baked good that we produce,” McCrery says.
Three of McCrery’s siblings also help out behind the bar. He himself has been involved in the coffee world for years, starting at a Dunn Brothers Coffee at the age of 19.
“I was very bored with school and coffee was something that I could be interested in. It's something where at first you think, ‘Oh, coffee, I get it, next,’ but it's so much more complex than that,” he says. McCrery bounced around several Dunn Bros. locations, as well as other local shops and bakeries, before deciding to open his own café.
“It wasn't easy,” he says. “I looked for more than a year. Maybe not actually that long, but it felt like it.”
McCrery wasn’t specifically looking for a location in Uptown, but says he is “certainly biased towards this part of Minneapolis, having spent the bulk of my life in this area.” When Carley Coffee closed, McCrery’s brewing idea came to fruition.
In addition to being family-owned and run, Zoe’s presents offerings from local vendors, working with True Stone Coffee Roasters for their beans. Kappers’ Big Red Barn, based in Chatfield, Minn., provides the milk.
“Something a lot of people overlook is how important milk is in relation to coffee,” McCrery says. “Milk can make or break the latte you're sipping on.”
While family is already baked into the foundation of Zoe’s, McCrery is hoping that family will grow as customers learn to call the café home.
“We obviously want customers to be able to come in and just grab their black coffee to go and go on with their day,” he says. “We understand that we are a really tiny part of the average person’s day, week, and overall life, but in the same breath we want to make you the customer feel comfortable & safe enough to, 'opt-in,' at any point & make that meaningful connection.”
Zoe's Cafe is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 to 10 on Saturday and 7 to 9 on Sunday.