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Finding Minnesota: Coffee House For Bikers

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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By Mike Binkley, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — By now, you’re familiar with Caramel Macchiato and Turtle Mocha. But have you ever tried Octane Boost? It’s on the menu at an Uptown coffee shop that’s geared toward “gear heads.”

Bob’s Java Hut is now in its 17th year, attracting hundreds of motorcyclists a day during the warm months, while also helping others get through the restlessness of winter.

“Well, it’s called PMS — Parked Motorcycle Syndrome,” said Bill Knotz, one of the regulars.

It started in the mid-90s, when bikers with their loud engines used to be shooed away from a nearby coffee shop in Uptown. Motorcyclist Liz Moser and others had what they called a “bar stool idea.”

“It was one of those, ‘Well gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to have a motorcycle coffee shop?'” she said.

All these years later, the shop’s loyal following keeps coming back –- as much for the conversation as the coffee. And you don’t have to be a motorcyclist to enjoy it.

“Just a really broad spectrum of society comes here,” said Esther Perry, another regular.

“Nobody is any different. They take you whatever you are,” added Jack Kelvie.

“Everything from lawyers, doctors to gutter punks and college students,” said Stuart DeVaan.

Even 81-year-old Catharine Nordstrom stops by — often doing her knitting at one of the tables.

“It’s not just the coffee. It’s the socialization,” she confirmed.

The personal bond with Bob’s is so strong that some of the customers have held milestone events there.

“I’ve had a wedding here,” said Moser. “I had a wedding party here. I’ve had two memorial services for customers that have passed away and their families wanted to have it here.”

There were only a couple of other coffee houses on that section of Lyndale when Bob’s first opened 17 years ago. Now, there’s a lot more competition.

“Now there’s probably five or six on Lyndale, but we’re still here,” said Moser.

They’re here, with the help of a very loyal base of customers.

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