Lutunji's Palate is built with purpose, fortified with love

Lutunji talks cultivating community and purpose through cobblers

A person stands in a restaurant.
“Built with purpose; fortified with love” is inscribed over the main counter at Lutunji’s Palate in Minneapolis.
Tom Crann | MPR News

Lutunji Abram had no plans of making a business out of something she loved.

But after a conversation with her pastor, it became clear that the world had other plans.

After years of selling her now famous Harriet’s Escape Peach Cobbler at local farmers markets and restaurants, she finally has her own kitchen and cafe space.

“It’s absolutely amazing to walk into your own commercial kitchen and just bake when you feel like baking. You’re not limited,” she said.

A person stands in a restaurant.
The view from the kitchen of Lutunji’s Palate, where the cobbler and other treats are made, looking out at the peach colored walls and mural spelling “Lutunji.”
Tom Crann | MPR News

It’s a feeling that carries into her vision for Lutunji’s Palate. This is not just a cafe offering cobblers, baked goods and coffee — it’s a social enterprise that she hopes can bring community healing and cultivate purpose.

“[At Lutunji’s Palate], it’s not business as usual,” Abram said. “I'm very fortunate to partner with amazing organizations that provide job leadership development skills for youth and I also partner with programs that provide second chances.””

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A person stands in a restaurant.
Lutunji Abram working behind the counter of her cafe Lutunji’s Palate in the Elliot Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Tom Crann | MPR News

Even though she couldn’t share all of her cobbler secrets with us, she did share that the most essential ingredients are, “nutmeg, love and peaches.”

But not fresh peaches — canned peaches.

And if made right, Abram says a peach cobbler should feel like family, joy and togetherness.

To hear the full conversation with Lutunji, click play on the audio player above.