Where the weather woman can Talk about the Weather

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 11, 2002

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Britton McKenna, one of the meteorologists at KAAL, you’ll find her pouring coffee at Talk about the Weather, her new coffee and sandwich shop in downtown Albert Lea.

Just don’t ask for Britton when you’re there. She uses her real name now: Brandi Sartain.

The idea about opening the coffee shop came to her as she was already getting ready to move. The U-haul truck was literally &uot;at the door&uot; when she stopped in to Gos-sip only to find out Gilbert Johnson was closing the store.

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&uot;I’d only been in twice, but it felt like home to me,&uot; Sartain said. She enjoyed her work as a meteorologist, but was tired of what she saw as the one-dimensional expectations of broadcast journalism, and wanted to do something completely different.

The community needs a place like this, she said. Gos-sip was a casual place where people could gather together without drinking alcohol and she wants Talk about the Weather to be that also.

She plans on keeping a lot of things the same as they were with Gos-sip, and also has Eileen’s Classic Madewrongs on the menu, a holdover from an even earlier cafe in that location. Sartain also plans on making the place her own by bringing in plants, adding breakfast to the menu, and she would like to introduce some items from where she grew up in Georgia.

&uot;Since I’m from the south, I want to add a few Southern items, like sweet tea and real barbecue,&uot; she said.

Sartain is also installing a &uot;smoke eater&uot; air filtration device, to improve indoor air quality for all her customers.

As before, customers stopping in for breakfast or lunch pick up little menu cards and circle what they want on their bagels or sandwiches. The speciality coffees and the Italian flavored sodas are also available.

Monday is the grand opening, and KCPI will be broadcasting live from the cafe. She be having specials all day, including free coffee from 6 p.m to 7 p.m., and throughout the rest of the week. The cafe’s regular hours will be 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

And since Sartain’s a meteorologist, customers can get a personal weather forecast for Albert Lea, too.