A&E reviews the hippest new Minneapolis coffee shop, Penny’s

The downtown Minneapolis coffee establishment had its soft launch last weekend.

Pastries sit on display at Penny's Coffee shop at 100 Washington Square in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 6, 2016.

Meagan Lynch

Pastries sit on display at Penny’s Coffee shop at 100 Washington Square in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 6, 2016.

Joe Cristo

Do we need another coffee shop that sells overpriced coffee and “treats?” To me, the modern coffee shop is a self-fulfilling prophecy: ask for money — hand-over-fist — and customers will automatically think the coffee tastes better.

Penny’s Coffee is the Twin Cities’ newest purveyor of caffeine. The downtown Minneapolis coffee establishment had its soft launch last weekend, and has finally opened its doors to excited white-collar employees and hip college students.

Needless to say, I’m not a fan of the expensive coffee culture; there are more coffee shops than needed, especially in liberal cities like Minneapolis.

But, of course, somewhere, someone said, “What the hell! Let’s start another one.”

When you walk into Penny’s, it’s hard not to be impressed with its design. The walls are hyper-modern and made of beautiful glass. I don’t know what the goal is, but it feels less like a coffee shop and more in a courthouse.

The rest of the decor is straight out of the inside of a bank. The floors are loud and nondescript; the overhead lights are shaped like those atrocious IKEA orbs. For some reason, everything is made out of faux stone.

I’ll admit that the art there is pretty impressive; specifically, the fluorescent rendering of a hand which serves as the shop’s logo. Everyone is well-dressed like any good barista should be.

Penny’s is already known for its crepes: banana-Nutella and ham and Gruyere are choice selections. I decided on the ham and Gruyere because it seemed more substantial. I also got a mocha because I’m open to new things, and I’m hardly stubborn.

Both were fine and not necessarily different from what is served at other upscale coffee shops. I’ll admit that the crepe was better than I could’ve imagined. It was filled with cheese and the ham was cooked to perfection.

Penny’s plan in the next few months, or possibly next year, is to start selling beer and wine, as well. While I’m always down for casual drinking in the middle of the day, I imagine it, too, will be overpriced.

A second Penny’s location in Linden Hills is already being considered. The ambitious owners, real-estate developer Ben Hertz and his partner Dean Phillips, are trying to gather a large enough following to start the next big thing in local coffee.

Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t.