Final Course Cafe to open now open closed in The Crossing Business Center

Kurt Larson of Larson’s Printing attached a comment yesterday afternoon in the Ole Store to reopen? blog post discussion, saying:

Just noticed a banner for a new eatery at Mendota Homes corner building. Anyone know what it is?

John Thomas follow with two comments:

I saw it this morning on my way out of town as well. I will stop by on my way back, and find out what it says.

The sign says: The Final Course Cafe, opening January 2008. Soups, Paninis, Salads, Tortes, Truffles, Coffees, Ice Creams – [I’ve edited that list slightly to coincide with the banner in the photo below – Griff]

Northern Letter blogger Bill Ostrem followed with:

The Final Course Cafe, at the Crossing, will be run (and owned?) by Dean and Rose Sorenmann. I know that Dean is an astute gourmand – some would say a foodie – so it’s likely to offer good fare.

Final Course Cafe Final Course Cafe banner Final Course Cafe 
So I snapped these photos today. Click to enlarge. Thanks, gents!

Update 12/16, 9:15 PM: The restaurant has a web site: Final Course Cafe.

Update 02/11: They opened last Monday.


  1. I hate to be that guy, but what’s the deal with the name, “Final Course Cafe”? I can’t help but imagine them slipping cyanide into the food 😉

    December 15, 2007
  2. John Thomas said:

    I see where you are going, but the final course is more about deserts, coffee, tortes, ice creams, etc.

    Basically, ligher fare, and items that you can linger and have a conversation over.

    Oh, how I hope they have some nice big comfortable leather chairs and a fireplace… and gourmet hot chocolate!

    December 16, 2007
  3. The name is all about the desserts and the coffees. We certainly wouldn’t mind people hanging out and lingering over coffee and a truffle, no hurry, no worry. You could even blog in our cafe as it will have wi-fi.

    Rose and I are owners and managers and have experience in the hospitality and catering industry. Rose was in management at a 4 diamond hotel in Minneapolis, while I worked in customer relations.

    We will have comfy chairs but the fireplace is better left at Caribou. People wouldn’t be in much of a mood for ice cream in front of a roaring fire.

    We are not food snobs but we know what we like and are pretty sure others will like it too. Relaxed sophistication. Remarkable service. Quality you can taste and see. See you soon at the Final Course Cafe.

    December 16, 2007
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks for the update, Dean. I’ve updated the blog post to include the web address of your new restaurant: Let me know when I can come by and snap an interior photo, with you and Rose, natch!

    December 16, 2007
  5. Anne Sovik said:

    I have to agree with Sean about the name Final Course. As if our death by execution will follow. I’m not trying to be funny; it really does sound deadly. I comment in hopes of influencing a name change, although it’s too late at this point, I suppose.

    December 16, 2007
  6. Well, Dean, though I do enjoying judging books by their covers, I’ll have to stop in when it opens!

    December 16, 2007
  7. Welcome, Dean and Rose. Good luck with your new venture. I just checked out your website and must point out that the college name is spelled “Carleton.” I am glad you did not say “St. Olaf’s College,” another common error!

    December 16, 2007
  8. Steve Wilmot said:

    Good luck Dean and Rose.

    Correction #2 for the web page, the referenced highway is not County 19, rather MN 19 – it is a state highway. A minor point to be sure, but it will confuse those from out of town or on the internet.

    December 17, 2007
  9. I will have my web editor make those corrections listed above or what may appear below.

    Thanks for the comments on the name. We like it and find no ill will toward our customers in it at all. The Final Course is of course beverages or the digestif. Although I do have a preference for the Final Course to be the entremets, or desserts. Death by chocolate, anyone?

    December 17, 2007
  10. I like the name… I find it lovably gothic and gleefully morbid. My kind of place.

    Eat on… if you dare!

    I shall half my cake and beat it, two.

    December 18, 2007
  11. Bill Ostrem said:

    Dean and Rose, sorry to pile on with editing comment #3: “irresistible” is spelled wrong on the homepage.

    As a friend, I’d be happy to donate my editing services during your start-up period. Once you’re in the black, my rates will go back to their usual astronomical levels.

    December 18, 2007
  12. Griff Wigley said:

    The Final Course Cafe opened last week. I took this photo of Rose and Dean Sorenmann and their two daughters last Sunday.


    February 11, 2008
  13. Vicki Dennis said:

    Dean saved me last week when I waited too late to procure a dessert that I’d promised to provide to an event. The lemon raspberry pie was a definite hit (the servers were actually hiding slices behind the table so they’d be sure to get some for themselves). Great service at a moment’s notice, and a fabulous dessert!

    February 12, 2008
  14. The food looks delicious and I’ll be happy to try it out soon.

    February 12, 2008
  15. I just tried this place today and found it to be great. The service and food were excellent. It’s nice to have another option here in town – and one that’s as close to the campuses as anything on Division.

    May 6, 2008
  16. Charlene Coulombe- Fiore said:

    Dear Dean & Rose….

    You are a wonderful asset to the City of Northfield!
    I hope you have refilled my cocoanut (sp?) is there a spell check here?
    icecream…I better not tell everyone or you will be out again!

    I hope the community and your friends from St.Paul continue to support your efforts and contribution to the neighborhood. It so nice to see lights and activity over there.

    I will be sure to stop by before I leave this City!

    Your friend at City Hall. Charlene

    May 6, 2008
  17. John S. Thomas said:

    I really miss my Sunday morning coffee there before church, but now, with the 11 AM open on Sunday, reading the morning paper there over a cup of great coffee no longer happens. 8-(

    Final Course has the best coffee, the best service, and the best treats in town. I hope business picks up, so that the hours can be extended once again. I would love to see a 9:30 open on Sundays.

    May 6, 2008
  18. Anne Bretts said:

    So Char, what’s up? Are we in a race for the exit? Come on, spill the beans.

    May 6, 2008
  19. Charlene Coulombe- Fiore said:

    Just let Dean know…he is refining his times and openings.
    He just needs a day of rest, so I am sure he would be happy to hear your suggestions.

    We need to embrace our new businesses and help them grow in a positive way.

    Thanks John for supporting this new business!!


    May 7, 2008
  20. Anne Bretts said:

    Great job, Char. The city was lucky to have you, and foolish for treating you so badly.

    May 7, 2008
  21. Charlene Coulombe- Fiore said:

    How nice of you to say so. I have been called a breath of fresh air and also a spit fire.’
    but my favorite so far….passionate for her clients.
    I am sure there are a few others.

    May 8, 2008
  22. Ross Currier said:

    Hey Charlene –

    So the rumors are true.

    I’ll miss your honesty and directness.

    Good luck with your next endeavor.

    – Ross

    May 8, 2008
  23. Jane McWilliams said:

    Sorry to hear this news. I hope you were provided due process, Charlene. The article makes it sound a bit sudden.

    Best wishes!

    May 8, 2008
  24. Charlene Coulombe- Fiore said:


    I don’t do rumors…but thanks for your kind words.

    May 8, 2008
  25. Charlene Coulombe- Fiore said:


    I can hold my head up high, thats all I know. I worked with some great people and had some fun and Got R done.
    Due Process….I am sure things will all turn out just fine.
    Thanks for sharing

    May 8, 2008
  26. Dean Sorenmann said:


    You will always have my support as a person. Your ideas are both creative and fun, which is important to my business.

    May health and happiness follow you where ever you go.

    May 9, 2008
  27. victor summa said:

    On Coulombe-Fiore’s departure

    Things are sad if not bad at City Hall. The City Council should weigh-in on this one. Do THEY have the spine?

    Charlene WAS … a “different” fit … and certainly challenged the MN NiCE character of Northfield … fact is, she is so nice, that she raised that concept to a new level … SINCERITY … and attempted to do her job using the strong professional skills she has honed in a twenty year career.

    QUESTION: Who up there on the metaphoric “HILL” does “fit-in”?

    That’s a short list!

    Looking at the morass of confusion facing Northfield … from personnel challenges to near economic collapse … complicated with a citizenry eager to blog but otherwise largely, mere bystanders … and a newspaper that simply doesn’t understand the need for objectivity and in-depth reporting of too many ISSUES … then throw in a dollop or two of reasoned fear of survival in these trying times….

    TRYING TIMES? (Does that have a new and a more critical meaning today than ever before?) Are we facing in “these times” even more serious threats than ever before? Seems so … but really …

    I mean, (claiming no personal accomplishment) but, in my 76 years, I’ve survived the Great Depression, WW II, The Atom Bomb [so far] HIV-Aids, assassination of our leaders in the 60s, and … being Italian in Minnesota!

    Excepting the Italian thing most of us, have survived most of these.

    So today… with all our emphasis on Human Resource management, Privacy Laws, right to work and other rungs up the ladder of civilization … how can one misfit power-craved authority so impact another person’s well being … on style?

    But, if the “POWERS THAT BE” felt discomfort with her (Coulombe-Fiore’s) style today … then they (if they’re “good fits” for their jobs,) should have sorted that out at hiring. Evidently they saw real value in her strengths and made the move.

    So, now THEY evidently feel the fit’s slipped .. and bear NO responsibility?

    Where’s the “employee review in in all this? Seems to work better for some than some others! If you’re to take the News report as presented in her departure letter as fact, Coulombe-Fiore “passed muster” not too long ago.

    A member of the EDA since October ‘07, I’ve had considerable opportunity and need in attempting to do my EDA job, for interfacing w/Charlene, frequently … perhaps more frequently than most other EDA members whose time was not so easily made available to the volunteer task. I take the EDA rigor very seriously, as I believe did Char … and I think I have a real understanding of Char’s and Northfield’s dilemma.

    Maybe the termination process should have started at higher levels.

    In any event, while meeting personnel requirements … administrative staff should have found a more equitable manner to make the change.

    What Northfield’s top Administration has done with this move is disable the EDA , overtax a depleted staff, and destroy an employee’s life. Hopefully, that’s temporary and both the effected employee and Northfield will, in short-time, regain what they have lost.

    Again: if you’re to take the News report as presented in her letter, as fact … The City Council should weigh-in on this one.

    May 10, 2008
  28. Anne Bretts said:

    You all know this is serious when Victor and I agree, but I am apalled at the process — or lack of it — in Charlene’s sudden forced departure. “You don’t fit in” is hardly cause for dismissal, and in her case should have been treated as a warning of sex discrimination. Who decided she didn’t fit in, the men supervising her or dominating her board?
    The stress of her job led to the need for some medical tests, tests which coincidentally happened just before her release. Are we containing health care costs by eliminating employees with real or even potential medical claims?
    Being forced to write a letter of resignation means the city will never have to be accountable for using due process. If nothing else happens, the council must at least ban this method of dealing with employees. If there’s a problem, document it.
    Charlene will come out of this just fine, but with all the projects she has done and had in her portfolio when she left, city officials certainly seem willing to choose style over substance.

    May 11, 2008
  29. kiffi summa said:

    And yet more serious when Victor and Anne and I all agree!

    Who gets the title Business UN-friendly now? Char was the most business supportive person you can imagine; she was willing to consider every possible way to help. Think of the “temporary banner” situation on the Final Course Cafe. After being up a couple weeks, the “city” asked the owner to take the banner down ( there is a time limit in the ordinance), but there are other ongoing banners that have been up for years. Charlene went to bat for the cafe owner, and got the banner back up.

    Was it being willing to try to improve that dastardly label of “NF not being biz friendly”, even if it meant gong against another staff opinion, that made Char get the “does not fit in” label?

    *** If the city staff fills that NF is not Business friendly, why not suggest some changes in ordinances, regulations, etc, that would improve the business friendly atmosphere***

    Instead, we get from staff regulatory monsters like the new Outside Dining ordinance, which makes it more difficult and more costly, for the people who were already doing it. The NDDC worked on this issue for at least four years, gave all sorts of comment, other cities ord language, etc., and it is almost as if that is taken as a challenge.

    The conversations are never simple; too many “power” issues …

    May 12, 2008
  30. ….and if Charlene does not fit are we therefore to assume that all other senior staff do. If so, gawd help us!

    May 12, 2008
  31. Griff Wigley said:

    There’s a sign in the window of the Final Course Cafe: “Closed till further notice. Please accept our apologies. Dean, Rose.” Anyone know what’s going on?

    May 15, 2008
  32. John S. Thomas said:

    The Northfield News has a piece this morning: Final Course Closes

    Less than four months in business, the Final Course Cafe is closing.

    Owner Dean Sorenmann confirmed on Thursday that his business, co-owned with his wife, Rose, will close sometime in the near future, though a specific date has not been set.

    “(The close) will be permanent,” Sorenmann said. “The reasons are purely business-related.”

    It is really too bad. It was a nice place, with great treats, coffee and ice cream.

    I loved going there, but when the hours shifted (especially on Sunday mornings), it just didn’t work out. We would already be at work by the 7 AM open, and at church by the 11 AM open on Sundays. We would stop in for the occasional ice cream, but the new hours were difficult.

    I am sorry to see them close. It was a tough location, especially for pedestrian traffic.

    Good luck to Dean and Rose.

    May 16, 2008
  33. Dean Sorenmann said:

    The Final Course Cafe, a business about desserts and coffee, truly had the promise of being an outstanding destination for Northfield and its visitors. Unfortunately, the market did not respond as quickly as was necessary to sustain operations and make it a long term success. My family and I are grateful to our loyal customers and we hope to see you again soon.

    May 16, 2008
  34. c. robin said:

    I’m really sorry about the FInal Course closing — you deserved a better business environment and economy!

    May 16, 2008
  35. The FCC’s closing is terrible for the city. They had a nice niche, and the food – I ate entrees and desserts from there four times in five days last week – was excellent. I hope the Cafe’s demise leads business powers-that-be in Northfield to reflect further on how to make this town friendlier to start-ups.

    Dean, I enjoyed meeting you and eating your food – best of luck with your future endeavors (and if they include another business, I’ll be one of your first customers).

    May 17, 2008

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