The Sparrow Café coming soon to 50th & Penn

The Sparrow Café is switching on the lights in the former Adagio shop at 50th & Penn.

The new café aims to open in early January, with a focus on organic and fair trade coffee.

“The reason we went with ‘Sparrow,’ is it’s an everyday kind of bird,” said Jasper Rajendren, who is opening the shop with his wife Sheila. “We really need to focus on coffee and light lunch service, and that’s it.”

The energetic interior was painted by the artists of Broken Crow, who created murals in Northeast and along the Hiawatha line.

Food service will start with a selection of pastries, and the owners hope to expand into a full-service kitchen, allowing Sheila, who is a baker, to make her own pastries onsite.

“We really want this to be a space where people can come and make connections,” Jasper said. “We want to support the neighborhood.”

Jasper has worked in restaurants for more than 12 years, and his work includes stints as manager of the Espresso Royale Downtown, cook at Nick and Eddie in Loring Park, and general manager of Campiello in Uptown. He currently works for an Italian wine importer.

Sheila has operated a photography studio since 1997, and she bakes at Café Cravings in St. Paul.

Jasper said that despite Sparrow’s place in line as the fourth coffee shop to operate at 50th & Penn, he’s confident they will succeed.

“We have the experience and a little bit of focus to get it going,” he said.