A latte for the road
Main-Stay Cafe opens beverage cart with drive-through service
MARSHALL — It was a soft opening — a chance for the crew from Main-Stay Cafe to get a feel for how things worked at their new location. But the word was out in Marshall on Friday, and vehicles were steadily pulling up in front of a former ice fishing house parked alongside East College Drive.
It seemed like a good sign, as the Main Street coffee shop expanded to include a drive-through location for hot drinks and sodas to go.
“The fun part is the excitement it’s bringing,” Main-Stay co-owner Gina Meulebroeck said.
The crowd during Friday’s soft opening was a mix of regular and new customers, said Erika Allen.
Main-Stay’s new drive-through officially opened Monday. The stand is located in a parking lot along College Drive, across the street from the Bremer Bank location in Marshall.
“It was something we always wanted to do,” Allen said of Main-Stay opening a drive-through.
“Without the community’s support, we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” Meulebroeck said.
The drive-through’s opening came at a time when being able to have to-go service has become important for local restaurants, and in a year when Main-Stay Cafe has had to deal with construction both next door and on their own building. But even without the pandemic and the construction, having a separate drive-through will still be convenient, Meulebroeck said. Customers can pick up a coffee or other drinks without having to find a parking space in front of the cafe, she said. They could even grab a beverage while on their way into downtown for other shopping.
The Main-Stay drive-through location has a menu including espresso drinks, hot tea and hot chocolate, as well as cold drinks like lemonade and Italian sodas. The drive-through is technically a beverage cart, so staff can’t prepare food like they can at the Main Street location, Meulebroeck said.
“However, they can prepare food down (at the cafe) and bring it up here,” she said. For now, Main-Stay’s drive-through menu includes muffins and scones along with the drinks.
Main-Stay’s drive-through hours will be from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, with extended 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours on Tuesday, and hours from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Part of the idea for the drive-through was to be open for a longer time, and be able to serve customers outside normal cafe hours, Meulebroeck said.
Although it’s been spruced up and has water and pumping systems, the drive-through has a very Minnesotan origin, Meulebroeck and Allen said.
“It’s an ice house converted into a coffee trailer,” Allen said.
Meulebroeck said people have asked whether the trailer will move to other locations, or for special events. But the plan is for the drive-through to stay put on College Drive year-round. The location is not only close to the downtown business area, but to Liberty Park.
“We’re really excited to see what happens with the band shell” during the summers, she said.