Caribou Cabin coffee shop could land in Mounds View theater parking lot

The parking lot of a soon-to-be AMC movie theater in Mounds View could land a Caribou Coffee concept that caters to drive-through and walk-up customers only and has been growing in Minnesota since debuting in 2019.

Java Cos. is looking to build a Caribou Cabin between Moe’s American Grill and the now-shuttered movie theater along Mounds View Boulevard, just north of County Road H2, according to plans submitted to the city.

Caribou Cabins are less than 600 square feet and have drive-through windows and walk-up windows only. The locations, which have “Caribou-blue” exteriors, “capture the brand’s iconic Northwoods feel … and are designed to deliver on guest convenience, speed and efficiency,” according to the company.

Caribou first brought the smaller-store concept to Jordan, Minn., in November 2019, and has since opened nine other locations across the state, including in Burnsville, Fridley and Coon Rapids. One opened in Brooklyn Park last week, while a Superior, Wis., location that opens Friday will be the first outside Minnesota.

Caribou operates 292 coffee shops in Minnesota, including one in Mounds View that would be less than a mile away from the proposed Caribou Cabin.

The expansive movie theater parking lot has been deserted since New Vision closed the 15-screen theater in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. New Vision went into bankruptcy in July 2020, and AMC Theaters took over the lease in Mounds View. A reopening of the theater, which will be called AMC Classic Mounds View 15, is planned for later this summer.

Caribou would have cross-access easements through the theater’s parking lot, Mounds View Community Development Director Jon Sevald said. Generally, customers would get to the coffee shop from Edgewood Drive or by an existing right-in, right-out entrance off Mounds View Boulevard near Moe’s American Grill.

The city council could consider approving plans at its July 26 meeting, Sevald said.

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