My first visit to e. p. atelier (you pronounce it like Maurice Chevalier) was truly an odd experience. I was in the course of interviewing Stan Kipper of New Primitives, who subjected me to a good-natured assault as he got so gleefully caught up in the conversation that he actually pummeled and kicked me to accentuate whatever point he was making at a given moment. I survived the beating, moved a sensible distance away from Kipper, and sat with Kipper and owner-proprietor Diane Ingram, shooting the sugar honey iced tea and taking in what an exceptional place it was.
Officially, it’s what you’d call a coffee shop, the staple being fancy cups of caffeine and light food—pastry, sandwiches, stuff like that—plus hi-tech requisites: free wi-fi Internet access and a computer for common use. However, there’s also an array of hand-made crafts (including tiaras, scarves, and finger puppets) and used and independently published books. The confines are real cozy: it’s decked out more like someone’s comfortably appointed den than a retail establishment. Funky chic, I guess you could call it. So the shop is a fine place to go to sip and snack, sit around and run your mouth, or play a game of chess (there is a house set you can use).
Somebody should’ve thought of something like it a long time ago. Now that someone has, do yourself a favor and drop in.
And there’s more. Several evenings a week you also can take in live music, poetry, spoken word, and stuff like that. For example, they offer an acoustic music open stage on Tuesdays from 7 to 10 p.m., and on Thursday at that same time you have a writers, storytellers, and spoken-word open stage. I sat in one night and got a chance to check out host Peter Stein: talk about a gifted wordsmith.
For a full monthly schedule of goings-on, you can consult their Web site, where you’re even invited to contact them and suggest events you’d like to see hosted. The address is 609 South 10th Street—just outside downtown Minneapolis, and right across the street from the Skyscape luxury condos. It’s an exquisite little upscale hole-in-the-wall. Somebody should’ve thought of something like it a long time ago. Now that someone has, do yourself a favor and drop in.
Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the TC Daily Planet.