This location is now closed!
Last night I got an SMS from Josh that said, “Hey, you wanna check out a new place in town, my treat?” Well, I am not going to turn down an opportunity to check out a new place especially if it’s free so I drove down to Northfield to spend the day with Josh while Kim worked.
I got to Northfield just after 11 and after waiting for Josh to get up, get ready and get out the door, we headed over to the Final Course Cafe and got there just after noon. We walked into the small and very new building that’s situated on the corner of a retail complex in the parking lot of a newly constructed group of condos that have not seen much activity since it was picketed during construction.
Final Course Cafe is setup just like any small coffee bar that serves sandwiches and they have a menu, ala James Gang Coffeehouse and Eatery (also in Northfield), but done with dry erase rather than multi-colored chalk. Sandwich items were in the $2.50 to $7.50 range (PBJ is $2.50 and their BLT is $6.00 but the rest are priced at $7.25 or $7.50) and include a side. We were told if we opted to go without the sides the prices would drop “a couple bucks” but the gentleman behind the counter wasn’t super specific as to what the new prices would be.
The space is nice and bright with two floors separated by a fairly steep staircase. There were a handful of tables on the first floor and another eight or so upstairs where we ate. There are plenty of windows which offered lots of natural sunlight. If you want, they have free wifi which you can gank while sitting in one of their comfy looking chairs strategically placed in the corners near the windows. While the space was nice and bright, it wasn’t all that comfortable and not some place I would hang out to drink coffee and surf as opposed to the various other locations in Northfield that offer the same sort of atmosphere.
We got our food soon after we sat down and it didn’t look like anything all that spectacular. We both ordered their “Robust Genoa Salami” sandwiches which were served on fairly fluffy soft rolls with ham, salami, provolone and munster with a vinaigrette dressing. Josh ordered his without vegetables, as usual but I wanted it as it was intended to be, yet they apparently got a bit confused and mine came sans veggies.
Josh ordered his sandwich with potato salad and I got mine with their three bean salad and the sandwiches also came with a typical and boring Vlassic-like pickle. Even before taking a bite, Josh said, “I already have a suggestion for them: lose the Vlassic pickles.” I was too busy prepping the plate for a photo to even notice but as soon as I bit into it, it was obvious that it wasn’t anything special. While this wasn’t the death knell for this place, the fairly boring and overpriced sandwich was. Honestly, you’re far better off at Hogan Brothers or James Gang Coffeehouse if you’re looking to eat at the same sort of restaurant. Josh went downstairs to grab a side of mayo and I agreed that this sandwich needed something but I really don’t think that even with the mayo, more vinaigrette and the greens would have saved my sandwich. Josh ate half and took half home enjoying the second half again around three and even though I didn’t particularly care for it, he seemed to enjoy it just fine but he did leave a quarter of his pickle behind.
The three bean salad was decent as I’m not usually a big fan of that type but I mostly saw kidney and green beans only receiving one and a half pieces of the third bean type. Josh’s potato salad was nothing for me to jump up and down over but Josh said he was surprised that it was as decent as it was for him. I would seriously be shocked if their potato salad didn’t show up in a five gallon bucket from Sysco. While I thought my side was decent, I really don’t think it was worth whatever extra price they charge for them. Coincidentally, my experience today was very reminiscent, except for the fact that I got a pickle, of my piss poor experience at the now defunct Jan’s Brown Bag Deli. I really wish history would stop repeating itself…
Looking at the menu, they offer coffe (sic), Bridgeman’s Ice Cream, various soups and salads as well as desserts and pastries. I asked if they made the desserts themselves and the guy said that they make some of the pies, bring in some of the items from the greater Twin Cities area, and some come from as far as Pennsylvania. Because I wasn’t interested in dessert today, I didn’t bother for a more specific breakdown but I will admit at least one of the pastries looked damn tasty and I’m sure, if given the opportunity, Kim would have scooped it up without hesitation.
Our total bill (two sandwiches, sides, pickles, and one pop) was $16.50 or so. Certainly not expensive but far more than I thought it was worth. While I won’t go so far as to say that you should completely avoid the Final Course Cafe in Northfield, MN I will say that you should try any of the other locations in town first starting with Hogan Bros.
After writing everything I have listed above, I went to their website to get the address/phone information to post and I noticed that under their about section they note:
We are currently in the training phase of our opening. We will be expanding our menu daily as we approach our Grand Opening.
So I suppose, as is always the case, you should take everything I just said and throw it out the window…or not.
Final Course Cafe
158 Water St N
Northfield, MN 55057
See all the pictures from today on Flickr here (camera).