MANKATO — St. Peter’s River Rock Coffee is opening a Mankato location in the former Bluebird Cakery building at 607 South Front St.

Katie Aho, one of the owners, said they hope to be open by mid-August.

“It’s already starting to feel like home and it’s such a sweet neighborhood. With Sun Moon Yoga, the Union Market space and WYSIWYG, it seems like a lot of nice companion businesses,” she said.

Bluebird Cakery, which has a location in Faribault, opened in Mankato in March 2017 and closed in February 2019. Last August River Rock began looking at locations in Mankato.

“There will be a lot of familiar items on the menu. We’re excited to offer pour-overs in Mankato,” Aho said.

Pour-over coffee brewing is a manual method of brewing in which hot water is poured through coffee-filled filters into cups or carafes.

“We’re excited to offer more things from River Rock Kitchen & Baking Co. in Mankato.”

The kitchen and bakery business was started by Montana Rasmussen in 2016 after outgrowing space inside River Rock Coffee. The artisan kitchen and bakery sources as many local, organic ingredients as possible to make breads, soups, quiche and other offerings.

Rasmussen, who was a longtime employee at River Rock, bought the bakery side of the business and moved to a production kitchen in St. Peter located near the coffee shop. She sells breads at the St. Peter Food Co-op, farmers markets and other businesses in the area.

In the next weeks the Mankato location will get freshly painted walls and refinished hardwood floors.

“And we’re looking at the current setup of the counters to see if it will work with our equipment and flow. And getting the right seating. It’s crunch time.”

They are also hiring staff for the new location. Their St. Peter location employs several college students, but Aho said they look for students who live locally year-round.

“We like to keep a steady team. But we’re open to anybody who’s an eager learner and passionate about good coffee and service and a positive work environment.”

River Rock was started 16 years ago by Tamika Bertram. Last year she brought on Aho and Helena Shanks, both longtime employees, as partners.

When open in Mankato, River Rock also will bring along the coffee it uses from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, a certified organic coffee roasted in Wisconsin.

The award-winning coffee is roasted in Viroqua and Kickapoo has a cafe in Bayfield and coffee shop in Milwaukee.

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