Back Alley Coffee Shop opens behind Paula’s

Joe Bertrand has owned Paula’s in Mayville since May 2007, cooking and serving savory breakfasts and lunches.

Then came early October of this fall, “I woke up and thought ‘I’m going to put up a coffee shop’…and I’d never been in one.”

That meant he and a staff would need to become baristas and learn to prepare flavored coffees, lattes, frappes, steamers and cappuccinos. No schooling was needed, just some coffee grinders and an espresso machine.

Joe Bertrand mixes some steamed milk and coffee beans
Joe Bertrand mixes some steamed milk and coffee beans at the espresso machine behind the bar of the Back Alley Coffee Shop in Mayville. The cozy shop is attached to the south end of Paula’s.

“I bought some beans. I bought the machine and just started to practice,” Bertrand told the Tribune. Joe Bertrand has owned Paula’s in Mayville since May 2007, cooking and serving savory breakfasts and lunches.

A little more than two months later, the Back Alley Coffee Shop is open on the south end of Paula’s. Bertrand invited more than 30 guests for a soft open Dec. 5. The grand opening came Dec. 11.

The cozy atmosphere includes a corner fireplace, art on the walls, music, free WiFi, and seating for about 20 customers. If extra seating is needed, the “Back Door” opens to the back of Paula’s.

Bertrand and a staff of five are busy behind the bar, taking orders from “Daily Joes” and cof- fees with steamed milk to Italian sodas. You might hike your eyes on a menu item called bangers and mash latte- just think Irish.

There are cookies, rolls and baked bars for those who like a little something sweet with their coffee varieties, which are plenty sweet. Joe says they’re working on a recipe for biscotti.

No sugar tonight? A spiced chai latte will warm you just as nicely. You can cool down with iced coffees, which are cold- brewed, or steeped in cold water for about 16 hours, Joe says.

“The beans are locally roasted through Bully Brew Coffee in Grand Forks,” he says. “You can come in and get a specialty coffee with your breakfast at Paula’s. There’s no need for the customer to go back to the coffee shop to order.”

Back Alley Coffee Shop is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The owner steps out of the kitchen and behind his bar to whip up another coffee concoction. There are recipes posted on the counter and around the mirror to guide the baristas.

“It’s super fun messing around back here,” Bertrand says.

Thanks to the Traill County Tribune for the use of this article which is from the January 5, 2019 issue by James R. Johnson.

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Mayville City Auditor

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Portland City Auditor