Food review: Groundswell

Tucked away in the midway neighborhood lies my favorite coffee shop.

Kathryn Robinson, Variety Reporter

View of Groundswell from Thomas Avenue. (Rachel Peterson)

During my first year at Hamline I was fascinated by the area around campus. Almost every morning I took my runs around the neighborhood looking at the various houses and people that formed the neighborhood I would now call home. One chilly morning I literally stumbled across Groundswell and I have never looked back.

The exterior is chic and modern, a contrast to the surrounding area. What first caught my eye was how welcoming the building looked. The colorful mural on the side of the coffee shop welcomes the community in. Hand prints of community members filled the mural in brilliant colors. On the Groundswell website they state that, “we opened Groundswell in our St Paul neighborhood in 2009 because we wanted our neighbors to have a space to know each other and collaborate. We love good food and good drinks, and we believe they help bring people together.” I think they have succeeded at that quite well. 

If I could choose a last meal, I would choose it from Groundswell. So, in honor of my favorite place, here is a review of my favorite items. I am not a coffee drinker, so I have never ordered one from here, therefore I can only speak on the food and bakery items. If the coffee is anything like the muffins, you’re in for a good drink. They also offer both gluten free and vegan options for many of their food and baked goods.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Muffin 9.5/10: Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I stop by to pick up a quick breakfast on my way to my morning class. Without fail, this is what I get. The pumpkin taste is not overbearing and the chocolate chunks are a fantastic addition. Their chocolate is flat which I think adds a nice touch and melt factor. It loses half a point because the muffins are occasionally slightly underbaked. 

Rosemary Chocolate Chunk Cookie 9.3/10: Who would’ve thought rosemary would go well in a cookie? I didn’t. That is until I tried this one. The rosemary balances the sweetness really well. I’m not a sea salt person in sweets, so I much prefer the rosemary. The cookies are large and always served warm. When I need a pick me up, this cookie does the trick.

A grapefruit basil kombucha sold at groundswell, alongside a table
marker. (Rachel Peterson)

Chocolate Cherry Scone 9.1/10: There seems to be a chocolate theme here, but that’s honestly because it’s so good in everything at Groundswell. This chocolate cherry scone is always a delight. The dried cherries are really nice and sweet. The scone has an almond icing on it that off balances the dryness of the scone. Although I don’t always pick the scone, it never lets me down.

Cupcakes 10/10: Groundswell always has different flavors of cupcakes, and every one that I have tried has been spectacular. They also tend to be vegan which is a plus for me. They’re incredibly moist and always have a unique frosting to top it off. Flavors I have seen offered have ranged from coffee to cheesecake. 

Loaded Hash Browns 11/10: I have truly never tasted such amazing hash browns in my life. They are loaded with veggies, quinoa, and white cheddar cheese. The quinoa adds a nutty flavor that is delectable. They don’t feel greasy or heavy. I couldn’t create better hashbrowns even if I tried.

Classic Breakfast 9.7/10: When I am looking for a full meal, the classic breakfast is what I go for. It has a choice of two eggs, loaded hash browns, and toast. You can also add bacon or gluten free toast. The food doesn’t look like a lot at first, but it’s quite a large serving. Everything always tastes fresh. My critique that is keeping it from a full 10 is the toast. They tend to serve you too many slices and I always end up wasting it. 

Classic Beef Burger 8/10: When I stopped by Groundswell one afternoon, the classic beef burger was satisfying. However, it lacked much flavor. It felt fresh and filling, but a choice of different sauces could have elevated it more. I would order it again because they have plant based options as well.

If you’d like to try Groundswell too, they are located at 1340 Thomas Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104 and are open from 7AM-7PM Tuesday-Sunday.