New coffee shop opens in Dinkytown

$1.99 Americano specializes in coffee and waffles and sells Korean-style ice cream.


CJ Bonk

The store’s owner hopes to provide an affordable coffee and dessert option for students.

by Jack O'Connor

Opening its doors on April 18, $1.99 Americano provides Dinkytown residents with a cafe selling waffles, ice cream and coffee.

With yellow-painted interior walls, a brick exterior and stools in front of a window facing Fourth Street, $1.99 Americano offers students a place to relax before classes. The shop is open daily from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Chang Yoo, who owns the nearby CrunCheese and a Korean restaurant in St. Paul, said he saw an opening for a Dinkytown restaurant that sells breakfast, dessert and coffee.

Right next to Goldy’s Locker Room, $1.99 Americano moved into a location previously owned by a print shop.

With their espressos, lattes and frappes all costing less than $6, Yoo said he hopes his store will be a more affordable coffee shop for students.

Yoo immigrated to Minnesota from Korea as a child in 1999. According to Yoo, every shop he founded takes inspiration from his country of origin.

Diverting from traditional ice cream shops, $1.99 Americano’s ice cream is served in the Korean Ah-Boong style, which pairs soft-serve ice cream with fillings and toppings all inside a waffle cone in the shape of a fish.

Customers can add Nutella or redbean filling to the bottom of their cone. Current ice cream flavors are matcha, milk or a mixture of both. Toppings like strawberries, oreos and chocolate are also included on top.
As the shop name implies, Americano coffee is sold for $1.99. Beyond Americano, the store also sells lattes, frappes, flavored lemonades and espresso drinks.
University of Minnesota student and $1.99 Americano customer MJ Koul said the store’s opening gave her a new place to enjoy coffee.

“I like that [the store] had cheap but good black coffee,” Koul said. “I’m excited to have somewhere to go other than Starbucks.”
Along with the inexpensive coffee, customers can order $1.99 Americano’s waffles topped with whipped cream, fruits, cinnamon, oreo, Nutella or ice cream for less than $7.

Yoo said he imagines $1.99 Americano as a “grab-and-go” store where students can quickly stop for breakfast, lunch or dessert.

With stools and a bar top, Yoo said $1.99 Americano could also serve as a study space for students.

Yoo said as more ingredients come in and they learn more about what customers like, more will be added to the menu.

“We hope to offer this community something new — something they haven’t had before,” Yoo said.