Couple opens coffee shop in Hebron
HEBRON — Customers to the Dark Side of the Brew relax with a newspaper or computer while sipping a cup of gourmet coffee. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer an inviting view of the Main Street.
The coffee shop is one of the newest businesses to open in Hebron, thanks to Miranda and Aaron Anderson. They will celebrate the shop’s first anniversary in June.
Miranda credits the shop’s name to her husband, who is a fan of 1970s rock group Pink Floyd.
“It’s a play on ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ from a Pink Floyd album,” Miranda said.
When opening the shop, the Andersons’ intention was to name it something related to “The Brick City” — Hebron’s nickname.
“The week before I was to register the name, I still had mixed feelings,” Aaron said. “I was making up a sign for my beer-making room and the name came to me.”
Their menu is filled with drinks one might expect to find in a bigger city — cappuccinos, mochas and espressos. The sandwiches and salads have names taken from Pink Floyd lyrics — the Lunatic, the Eclipse, the Schoolmaster and the Brick.
“I’d say we specialize in fresh foods, we don’t have anything that’s fried,” Miranda said. “It’s different; we wanted to give people more options. We’re not in competition with anyone.”
The shop also specializes in fresh-baked pastries — scones, biscotti, caramel rolls, muffins, brownies and cookies.
“As far as breakfast, we really have a natural, healthy oatmeal blend,” Miranda said. “We have awesome breakfast sandwiches and English muffins.”
For lunches, they can serve salads, sandwiches and soups. Fridays, it’s always chili and clam chowder, she said.
Aaron grew up in Hebron where his father, Andy Anderson, operates a coffee distributing business. The company, Dakota’s Best Gourmet Coffee, is located in the former MDU building.
Miranda grew up in the Gallatin Valley of western Montana.
The couple met in Billings, Mont. After marriage, they lived in Minneapolis and Fargo before moving to Hebron.
The idea of returning to Hebron was appealing to the couple, but moreso to Miranda.
“I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and home-school the kids, and we figured at Fargo, I could not,” Miranda said.
“I’d say Miranda was the driving force to move back here,” Aaron said.
The couple has two children, a 5-year-old daughter, Emelyne, and an 11-month-old son, Octaveus. They liked the idea of their children growing up around grandparents and cousins, Miranda said.
Aaron started delivering coffee around western North Dakota for his dad’s business. The coffee shop was an afterthought. Miranda grew up around coffee shops, so she was comfortable with the idea of owning her own business.
“We had the space — it’s a big building,” Miranda said. ”We kicked the idea around and slowly started renovating the building. It took us about a year to finally get it done. The guys did a majority of the work themselves.”
Miranda and her mother-in-law, Carmelita Anderson, took on the job of decorating.
“I grew up around coffee houses and I was excited to have a space to customize and create,” Miranda said. “One if my hobbies and interests is decorating. We had fun coming up with the colors. We wanted a comfortable lounging place where there’s coloring books and puzzles. We can be quick and you can sit down for a half-hour lunch or you can relax.”
The Andersons soon realized they needed a shop manager. Sara Fulbright, who was working in Montana, was persuaded to accept the job.
“We basically grew up knowing each other and we’ve been best friends since grade school,” Miranda said. “She worked in a coffee shop in Montana and I knew she’d be able to teach me to make the drinks.”
Fulbright moved to Hebron just as the shop opened.
“Honestly, it has been a lot of fun,” she said. “Going into it, we didn’t exactly know what to expect. This is a different atmosphere for this area and we weren’t sure how everyone was going to react to it.”
She’s been pleased with the shop’s welcome from locals and tourists.
“I love the coffee — I always get the vanilla latte with whipped cream,” customer Randi Caster said. “I come every day. You can come and read, and you can have lunch. The sandwiches are great and they serve soup every day.
In addition to its menu, Dark Side of the Brew promotes local artists.
“We support any small business venture,” Miranda said. “We sell local art. We have artists who make awesome chapsticks, greeting cards and art.”
Fulbright, for example, designs jewelry and scarves that are sold at the store.
“My jewelry and scarves are actually glorified garbage,” she said with a laugh “I like unconventional things — old pieces I’ve repurposed.”
She likes to use natural stones and fossils for the jewelry.
“They are incredibly gorgeous and I integrate my jewelry with them, adding my own twists to them,” she said.
Aaron also is an artist under the pseudonym of Noraa. He sells his art through Dark Canoe studio with a friend from Minnesota who specializes in photography.
“All of our projects are under that name,” he said. “We work together but on separate projects.”
Their work also is displayed on the walls of the shop.
Miranda is looking forward to the summer when tourists pass through town.
“We had a lot of cyclists last summer and we had excellent feedback,” she said.
The Andersons also have received positive comments from locals since opening the shop.
“Living in Hebron, everybody knows one another,” she said. “It’s a very friendly and very nice place to raise a family. Everything we need is here — the stores, a library. I’ve lived in Seattle in and Minneapolis, but I’ve loved the small-town life.”
Aaron agrees with his wife.
“I enjoy seeing how people act the first time they come in,” he said. “Some people are drawn to what’s in the display case. Other people spend five minutes looking at the art wall, ordering coffee and gravitating toward the jewelry.”
Dark Side of the Brew
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Address: 712 Main Ave., Hebron