Sparrow Cafe seeks community help

Sparrow Cafe exterior
Sparrow Cafe opened in 2013 at 50th & Penn. Photos by Andrew Hazzard

Since opening in 2013, Sparrow Cafe has done pretty well in its small, 650-square-foot corner space at 50th & Penn, but co-owners Jasper and Sheila Rajendren are asking the public to pitch in to make their vision of expanded offerings from an in-house kitchen a reality.

In July, Sparrow Cafe began soliciting donations on a GoFundMe page. Their goal is to raise $36,800, enough to install compact, TurboChef ovens that will allow them to bake their scones and other goods in-house and offer a larger lunch menu. To accommodate their kitchen dreams, they’ll need to make improvements to their electrical and plumbing systems and buy more coolers, too, Jasper Rajendren said.

Right now, the Rajendrens do their baking at City Food Studio in South Minneapolis.

“To be able to do everything here would be a lot more efficient,” Jasper Rajendren said.

Jasper Rajendren mans the counter at Sparrow Cafe
Jasper Rajendren mans the counter at Sparrow Cafe, where he and his partner, Sheila, are asking the community to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign so they can expand their kitchen space and offerings.

The business is also attempting to recover from a tough winter when snow forced them to close for multiple days and business slowed significantly, he said.

At Sparrow Cafe, they honor their name by serving only certified bird-friendly coffee, which must be sourced from approved farmers who go through a longer growing process because they maintain robust tree canopies around their coffee plants. The process makes the coffee more expensive, Jasper Rajendren said, but they try to be competitive with their pricing. As far as he knows, they are the only cafe in Minneapolis that only serves certified bird-friendly coffee.

So far, the campaign has raised more than $7,000, with several people giving generously. They’ve been encouraged by the contributions.

“Our customers are great,” Jasper Rajendren said.

Sparrow Cafe
5001 Penn Ave. S.