Kaffe Stuga: The Little Café That Could. And Does.
“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage.
We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week.
A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing.
She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”
– Henry Youngman
7:20 a.m. on a Saturday morning. My husband and I, returning from an early photo shoot somewhere along Old Hwy. 61, wanted breakfast. He had that I-need-a-plate-full-of-deliciousness, face.
“How about Kaffe Stuga?” I asked.
Everyone who has been to “The Stuga” in Harris, MN, knows they serve up generous portions of yum. My husband’s smile, so big it almost fell off his face, was all the answer I needed.
Selecting a parking space, I noticed a lot of people sitting in their cars watching the Kaffe Stuga door. By their intensity, it was pretty obvious they were mentally willing the lock to open. However, Kaffe Stuga opens at 7:30 in the morning and not one minute before. Maybe anticipation is good for our souls, or maybe the wait staff likes to mess with ravenous customers. Either way, no amount of puppy eyes, milling, or heavy sighs had an impact. We had to wait.
Resigned to eight more minutes of starvation, my husband patted his growling stomach and sat on a nearby bench. I plopped down on the cement Stuga steps. It was a defiant move to intimidate those sitting in their cushy cars. I was. This. Much. Closer. To. The. Door. Mwahahahah.
Eventually, an older woman slowly, slowly, limped towards me while gazing at the door. “Still locked, eh?” I nodded. “Yep.” That’s usually the kind of small town talk that invites connection, but I knew better. This was about Stuga positioning. She leaned on the rail, being all friendly, and yet I knew she was challenging my space near the door. Game on, sweet lady. Game on.
Harris is listed as a town of 1,131 residents per the 2010 census. There have been a few cold winter nights between 2010 and 2016, so that number may be up a few residents by now.
And, in case you are wondering, Kaffe Stuga means “coffee house” in Swedish. The little Harris cafe has been family owned for over fifty years. Their homestyle cooking tells the tale.
One breakfast favorite is the “Stuga Stack.” It consists of hash browns, one sausage patty, one egg over easy, stacked, and topped with sausage gravy for $5.75. Let the taste bud dance-a-thon begin! Another favorite is the apple fritter French toast at $4.55. You can add two eggs and choice of bacon, ham or sausage, which will bring your total to $5.85. Yeah. That’s why there is often a line waiting to get in, and why my butt was sitting on a cold slab of cement.
Eight minutes usually goes by in a blink. But not on this day. I swear I saw a robin build a nest, lay eggs, hatch chicks, and feed them until the babies flew away as juviniles. Eight minutes in Stuga waiting time is painful.
At last, glory be, I heard the click of the door unlocking. Waving at my husband to let him know Kaffe Stuga had officially opened, I got quite a surprise when the
“limping” older woman vaulted over me like an Olympian track star. “I need to get MY table,” she said, as if that explained everything. Game off. No matter. Despite the hoards of people filing into the Stuga in one big rush, within minutes almost everyone had a cup of coffee in hand or a plate of yum. The Stuga staff is good. Really good.
If you happen to be enjoying a trip up or down Old Hwy. 61, I highly recommend you stop by Kaffe Stuga. They are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week. But, beware of friendly older ladies with a limp. Just saying.
6810 Sunrise Rd