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A place to grab a cup and relax: Mandy’s Coffee and Cafe is the 2018 Restaurant of the Year

Mandy Cardinal talks about her coffeeshop's opening day, July 22, 2015, during a presentation Feb. 20, 2019, to Red Wing Women's Network. She was 27 at the time and didn't quite know what she was getting into, she said. Anne Jacobson / RiverTown Multimedia

Mandy's Coffee and Cafe, located in the heart of downtown, is a favorite in Red Wing, which was made clear when the business was awarded the 2018 Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce Restaurant of the Year.

When Mandy Cardinal was asked what her reaction to learning that her restaurant had won on Feb. 4, she replied, "surprised but extremely grateful and proud of what we've created."

Cardinal has experience in marketing and education. Using these skills, and the inspiration to create a local coffee shop, Cardinal opened Mandy's in the summer of 2015.

"It was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment, wild idea," Cardinal said. But, she added, that once she had decided to open the shop, she worked hard to make the idea work and succeed.

Now, Mandy's completes about 200 transactions a day. Cardinal said she believes that the business is successful, in part, because it is welcoming to anyone and everyone.

"(It's) really neat to be in a place where you can meet others or feel comfortable going alone," Cardinal said.

The staff were also credited by Cardinal for being one of the main reasons that business succeeds. She explained that the people who work at Mandy's are genuine, naturally friendly and own who they are.

Mandy's serves a variety of drinks, baked goods, sandwiches, salads and soups. For those waiting for coffee or food to go, there is also a wall of cards, shirts and other goodies to browse.

Scheduled to speak at Women's Network on Feb. 13, well in advance of winning the chamber honor, Cardinal told attendees that she has always had trouble accepting accolades. She joked that if she had known all the challenges she might not have opened the shop at age 27, but the lessons have taught her perseverance and she loves her work.

She stressed in her interview with the Republican Eagle that her business has succeeded because of the Red Wing residents who regularly visit Mandy's. She explained that tourists are important, but those who stop in every day or once a week are who really help keep the coffee pots brewing in the cafe.

For more information about Mandy's Coffee and Cafe, visit www.mandyscafe.com.

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