Friday, June 13, 2008

Arne’s Beachfront Café

Arne's famous coffee urn

Finishing an entire cup of his World-Famous Coffee is something of an initiation ritual for newcomers to Arne’s Beachfront Café.

Arne’s coffee has been the subject of magazine articles in “Lake Country Vacationer,” “Midwest Attractions & Destinations,” and “Cardiologist’s Quarterly.” Justifiably so, because not only is Loonfoot Falls’ famous coffee remarkable for its strength and unique – even unforgettable – taste, Arne’s World-Famous Coffee is the result of happy chance followed by careful conservation.

Times were tough back in the seventies. After his Coffee Counter closed, Loonfoot Falls had only one coffee shop: a serious situation for a town that so many Norwegians called home.

Arne purchased the building that had formerly been home to Lakeview Diner, polished it up, and opened Arne’s Beachfront Café in 1975.

Somehow, between working double shifts and training a small staff, Arne didn’t get around to cleaning the coffee urn for over a month. “That was the best mistake I’ve ever made,” Arne recalls. “I knew the coffee was tasting different, but I didn’t pay any attention.”

Not until he noticed people coming in from neighboring towns, asking about his coffee.

Down in the murky depths of that urn, some Scandinavian alchemy had transformed coffee grounds into the foundation of a unique brew of coffee.

Over the years, Arne has carefully preserved the sediment in that urn. He modestly says that the only difference between his “World Famous Coffee” and what everyone else makes is that he puts twice as many grounds in as most people.

Finally, careful research at Arne’s has dispelled one local legend. Contrary to popular belief, Arne does not have a tiny crowbar under the counter, to pry customers’ fingers off the coffee cups.

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