Artisan Cafe and Courtyard opens Sunday mornings for brunch

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Gina Dahlstrom, right, is in charge of the kitchen at the newly-opened Artisan Cafe and Courtyard. Breanna Meyer, left, helps with customer service. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

After years in the making, Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center has opened The Artisan Café and Courtyard.

“We are proud and excited to announce the opening season of our long-awaited Artisan Cafe and Courtyard,” said director Cindy Olsen. “The café will provide yet another source of sustainable funds for our after school art program, which just completed its seventh year.” Partnering with local vendors and growers, as well as with local food guru and farm-to-table enthusiast Gina Dahlstrom who will be head of the kitchen, the Artisan Cafe and Courtyard made its grand entrance Sunday, May 29.

Last summer, the adjacent courtyard was paved, its privacy fence was painted, and Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center received a license to sell and serve wine in the gallery and in the courtyard. This summer, the patio was coated with brightly colored concrete stain. A grant from Clayton County Foundation for the Future provided a wheelchair accessible picnic table and portable ramp for both front door and courtyard entry – making both the gallery and courtyard available to a wider audience. 

“Our fresh, locally grown menu will change each Sunday, so follow us on Facebook for weekly updates,” said Olsen. “Guttenberg roaster Barb Arthur of Big Muddy Coffee has created a special blend just for the Artisan Cafe, and we're looking forward to sharing that new blend with you!” The Artisan Café and Courtyard is holding a naming contest for the new blend, and the person who submits the winning name will be awarded a free bag of the coffee. This special blend will be sold by the cup as well as by the bag.

During their kick-off, the Artisan Café and Courtyard offered pork sausage breakfast burritos with sour cream, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo, along with pepper bacon waffles and warm, locally made maple syrup or peach pecan waffles with whipped cream and local preserves on the side. The café will open each Sunday at 10 a.m., serving brunch until 2 p.m. Mimosas and native wines are also available; with beverages and charcuterie plates served after 2 p.m. Dining is open indoors, among the local artworks featured in the gallery, or outside in the brightly colored courtyard.

Staff and volunteers have tended to small details to make the dining experience at the Artisan Café a unique one. Indoor seating is at tables handmade by one of the gallery’s artists, Billy Bergeson. The tables are shaped like painter’s palettes, and each has been hand painted in a different color scheme. The tables will be topped with color quizzes and art vocabulary. Customers will receive a small painting in the style of a famous artist, such as Van Gogh or Picasso, whose name will be called when their order is ready. 

A courtyard concert series has been planned to celebrate the opening of the Artisan Café and Courtyard and to highlight the updated outdoor space. The first concert was held May 27 with area musician and bird expert Jon Stravers. Honeywise, featuring Sophia Landis of Elkader, will perform in the courtyard from 8-10 p.m., following the June 10 River of Music. Limited seating is available, so those who’d like to attend this free show are encouraged to bring chairs. 

Other upcoming events at Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center include a variety of youth art camps for grades K-12, adult workshops in creative writing, art history, watercolor and acrylic painting, and more. A Canvas Uncorked class will be held at PromiseLand Winery on June 17. To sign up or learn more about any offering, call 563-252-2787 or visit www.guttenbergcreativitycenter.com.

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