Cafe's appetite for Kickstarter exceeds $100,000 goal

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Traditionally, when restaurant owners and chefs wanted to expand their dining rooms, they went to their bankers. In the future, they might go to their patrons.

MinneapolisEater reports the Birchwood Cafe in the Seward neighborhood in Minneapolishandily met its Kickstarter goal of $100,000 by its Nov. 24 closing date. As of Sunday morning, it had raised a total of $109,831 from 947 donors. The campaign closes at 9 p.m.

Finance and Commerce reported the pitch is the latest local example of the effort to crowd source funds. Kickstarter invites individuals to invest money for small rewards as a show of faith in a business.

Owner Tracy Singleton will use the money for expansion. For two years, Singleton has leased an auxiliary kitchen to augment the one at the restaurant. She wants to bring all operations under one, larger roof with an expanded kitchen, more seating, and a community room. Singleton needs about $1 million to expand the restaurant to 3,939 square feet. She also has an SBA loan.

City Pages reported that the cafe's roof will be topped with solar panels as part of their sustainability efforts. "We will also offer an expanded menu, a community room, more room for local art, increased catering, and an additional bathroom," Singleton said.

Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern endorsed the campaign. In his Minneapolis St Paul magazine blog, he wrote, "I would encourage you to get involved and contribute what you can. Why? Everyone always asks me what the best way is to change the world. In a sense, I have no clue. But I do know how to change my community—by growing stuff around me. Thinking globally but acting locally is the best way to make a difference."

The Business Journal wrote about the crowdfunding campaign at Travail Kitchen and Amusements, which pulled in a supersized $250,000 on Kickstarter earlier this fall. The amount was more than three times as much as originally sought.

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