Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Rebekah Lund
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum staple remains open


Rebekah Lund

Joe and Ashley Bonniwell, the new owners of The Chickadee Coffeehouse and Deli in Barnum.

Despite rumors that the Chickadee Coffeehouse and Deli would be closing at the end of May, they will in fact be staying open, thanks to new ownership. Joe and Ashley Bonniwell of Sturgeon Lake took over the business on June 1. The young couple hails from the Twin Cities, but after visiting their family's cabin frequently, they found life up north to be appealing, so much so that they made the move here three years ago.

This reporter visited with the new owners on Friday, June 15 at the "Chillin' at the Chickadee" event, which featured Theresa Williams, a singer/songwriter from Duluth. "We plan to continue having the music events on Fridays, and will even have them last longer from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.," Ashley said. On the particular evening I visited, there were other small groups enjoying the music and the relaxing atmosphere. The couple plans to acquire a beer and wine license, so they can make the vibe at the coffeehouse even more "chill."

"We always wanted to own a small and restaurant, so we knew we had to act fast when we heard The Chickadee was closing," Joe said. Things are going well so far for the couple at their new business. They have been working with the former owners, Brig and Kris Fanning, during this transitional period, and they have many family and friends who are offering support for them in terms of advertising and business owning.

Rebekah Lund

A group of friends enjoying Chillin' at the Chickadee on Friday night, a weekly event which the new owners of the coffeehouse plan to keep going.

They are planning to keep the menu the same for now, but will expand their gluten free options, as Ashley is gluten intolerant and wants to meet that dietary need for customers. The couple also plans to continue catering to Little B's and other events that come up. Their staff will remain somewhat the same, and they will continue to have games and books available for patrons, as well as a rental space in the basement for group and party events. "We also bought The Chickadee building at the county fairgrounds," Joe said, so look for them at the fair in August and at the Trappers Convention for food and drinks.

The young couple believes "small businesses are a staple in small towns, providing job opportunities, products, and services to many members of the community." It sounds like just the perfect motto for the new owners of this community business.

If you have any suggestions for the new owners, would like to place a catering order, or want to know their menu and specials, visit their Facebook page,, call (218) 389-4444, or, best of all, head down to The Chickadee and meet them in person; they are eager to hear from customers and to make a name for themselves in our community!


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