If you heard a rumor that there was a giant coffee cup being hoisted atop a building you can confirm that just by heading east down I-794. The giant rooftop cup, a beacon to all wayward coffee drinkers, signifies you can now sip Stone Creek Coffee slowly at their shining new Factory Store on 5th and St. Paul.
Stone Creek Coffee Factory Store serves up quality and well sourced grind all week, very early on weekdays opening at 5:30a, then 6:00a on Sat and 7:00a on Sun.
Spacious, comfortable and modest, the Stone Creek Factory Store retained the old world charm of given by original building architects Burnham and Root, with vintage cabin completeness provided by Kubala Washakto (a slightly style-cramping choice of architects considering they also designed Alterra’s corporate headquarters). Not moments after entering Stone Creek’s vestibule, do you experience l0arge glass panels beckoning you to enter the cafe to see just how nice inside looks.
At the Factory Store opening, Stone Creek’s renewed industrial interior, formerly just their headquarters and roasting facility, provides a ideal setting for coffee consumption and bustles with activity. It feels like an unpretentious resort suitable for Stone Creek’s typical patronage, a pleasant and seemly crowd not quite spanning the cultural spectrum the way Alterra does. Friendly, knowledgeable Barristas have a marked presence, as well as ample seating at big tables suitable for accommodating feasts in ancient Saxony.
Method to the Cup
Stone Creek still has a Barrista school where its employees hone their craft of brewing and cupping. A kind fellow stands at the coffee bar practice area ready to demonstrate the traditional drip method of brewing. The mock Barrista station captures the intensity of a chemistry lab. Several glass vessels rest on top of digital scales consecutively, cradle ceramic drip cones in their openings. A tea kettle holding water heats up with a digital thermometer monitoring its temperature. In grave detail, the fellow explains that preparation of a single cup of coffee using the drip method suits his personal preference. An emphasis on the precise weight of beans and type of grind, ensures that what the vessel captures, when water brought just below a boil slowly soaks through the coffee and filter, impresses the pallet of those with discerning taste.
Further leaping into maturity, not that Stone Creek hadn’t outdone itself with the primary features of the remodel, baked goods now come in-sourced fresh from its newly christened commercial backing facility. Goodies make it from oven to plate, pipping fresh, and quicker than ever. Stone Creek’s coffee couldn’t be happier.
Stone Creek’s flagship store get tons of credit for adding a little commerce to an otherwise bleak area for retail business of any kind. Sitting at the footsteps of the Central Post Office and Intermodal Station, and a stones throw from We Energies, an obvious captive market will inevitablely tip their cups. Let’s hope that some spillover from the Third Ward Association’s innovations in pedestrian experience and attempts to heighten awareness of activating dead spaces like Brighten the Passage, can meet West Town and the City halfway and alleviate the bleak walking conditions from surrounding areas to make an even greater success story for Downtown.
I’ll never get used to the receding daylight suffered by fall changing to winter. The premature darkness did allow the new inhabitants of Truly Spoken’s old space to feature their fine vintage replacement framed window glass under studio lighting. There’s a market around here for that huh? That’s the kind ingenuity you expect to see these days unfortunately. Nice to see someone making lemonade out of it.
Keeping with its long-suffering reputation as the hotbed for everything an urban cross-roads should have, Riverwest proudly watched one of its more established artist venues, Jackpot Gallery, open a new show titled Nicotine Bliss. The Jackpot Gallery show opened November 9th and helped demonstrate the robust bandwidth Milwaukee’s art scene has achieved; The Portrait Society Gallery’s unveiling happened to be on the same night attracting a whole different crowd.
via AnthonyMikkelson on YouTube
Unsel Fish Guild
Headlined by no-one in particular, 14 artist shacked up on Jackpots’ walls for Nicotine Bliss. Pieces touched on traditional forms of painting and print-making, and went guerrilla, pop and re-purposed.
Anthony Mikkelson minds the design spaces ACME and Used Car Studios shared his insights on the sights from his world and beyond. Several of his pieces presented illustrations of characters, objects and street-scapes endemic to urban areas. Channeling folk-artsiness for a few pieces, ACME scrawled deliberately on reused objects such as wood board and LP liners, leaving urban artifacts and relics of this current age.
Gregory Martens went ballistic depicting the end of days in series of prints that stopped time in several locales spread far and wide across the continents. As the rapture occurs, the sights, sounds, and amazement of that moment culminate in natural, celestial and symbolic realms colliding with known and unknown forces amidst the final cataclysm. Martens brings this world to our un-believing eyes applying print-making techniques to oversized paper.
A Matter of Medium
As much about the final product, as the method of reaching the consumable image, the works comprising the Nicotine Bliss installation all share the desire to go new places, off-canvas, and away from acrylic paint. Paul Kjelland really stood tall applying hand cut paper techniques.
With a precise razor blade, Kjelland took two very pop images of youth doing youthful things and simulated posterizing effects on them, with cuts leaving only the essential details of the image, then coloring them with a glazes of spray paint until the images looked as if they could be stills from A Scanner Darkly.
Contributing healthily to the Nicotine Bliss show also were Lindsay Marx (a painter of growing infamy), Brad Warsh, Lois Galvez, Levon Turner, Ahmad Kearney, Ella Dwyer, Max Senesac, Kellen Kroening, Jenna Wilson, Joshua Carol and Kate Luscher.
Nicotine Bliss tears down November 27th.
via FritsisNietzsche on YouTube
Just past 84th and National Avenue, we weave through some barricades placed in the middle of the road to ward off through traffic. We get one maneuver closer to having some Peruvian food from an obscure three month-old niche eatery called Chef Paz. A bunch of construction shouldn’t stop from you from going anywhere now should it? Especially, not West Allis.
I could talk about how enamored I feel driving through West Allis, a.k.a Stallis, and marveling at the shear volume of corner and mid-block pubs and windowless bar and grills enjoying above average patronage on a weekday night. Throw in my pleasant dining experience at Chez Paz, and my work week becomes a little more bearable.
A decorative iron gate encloses the patio seating just outside the entry-way. Entering Chez Paz, a minimally repurposed diner layout holds some continuity from the restaurant’s previous occupants legacy, spheroid lunch counter and all. A layer of mint green paint covering the stucco walls makes an impression on your eyes.
Chef Paz’s cuisine fuses hearty comfort food we know and love Stateside, with preparation uniquely South American. The menu emphasizes interpretations of rice and bean based dishes found throughout the world and the venerable combination of steak and seafood. Traditional American, Asian and Italian recipes get an Andean make-over for those looking for something more familiar.
Way Down Home Cooking
A meal for every appetite, the opening courses glanced Tex-mex favorites like empanadas and “tamals” done with a Peruvian spin, served with a memorable creamy salsa verde. For the main course, I chose a hefty portion of paella loaded with shrimp, calamari and mussels, complete with a shell-on whole-head shrimp garnish. The closing courses will help you indulge further as you manically scoop sinfully rich mousses or custard-y deliciousness from small glass cups.
Chez Paz fires up the kitchen Sunday through Monday just before the lunch hour and closes at 8p weekday and 9 on the weekends. Prices correlate directly with the amount of food ordered, with superb flavor held constant and weekday dinner specials for $6.99.
Two new Peruvian restaurants open on National Avenue by Damien Jaques, OnMilwaukee
For a small pond, Milwaukee has never shied away from rivalry. In the battle grounds of Milwaukee’s corner taverns and mid-block pubs, brew masters watched their glory pour from beer taps. More recently, Milwaukee’s other favorite brew has inspired a less overt battle to fill coffee house mugs with specialty blends caffeinated beverages. What more fitting place for a friendly business duel to take place, but at the intersection in Bay View where Lincoln, Kinnickinnic, Allis and Howell Avenue create the most conspicuous conglomeration street corners per acre of anywhere in Southeastern Wisconsin.
If Bay View were Greenwich, Connecticut Alterra Coffee Roasters would be the Jones’. The coffee brewers that auspiciously broke-in a vacant garage on the Eastside in 1992 before the curse cast on Prospect Mall took hold, in 2012 leveled the old Maritime Bank building a redeveloped it into a LEED-certified coffee super cabin suitable for a mountainside lot in Boulder, Colorado.
Much conversation titillates around the subject of coffee culture and Alterra just upped the ante. More like a coffee resort, their open air patio sits adjacent to a convertible vestibule that leads to the lobby’s order counter. A flock of hip and forward thinking parents and yuppies, are joined by counter-thinking parents and hipsters in a line reaching the sidewalk on KK. Hustling servers of all ages and persuasions, from tattooed to typical, cut through the through the faux log tables and chairs, to seek out and deliver goodies to those dining on the patio.
On Alterra’s upstairs level, though the garage door window was closed, the lofted space still felt like a high-end stilted bungalow in Costa Rica. Despite the pomp and trendiness, we all know that Alterra serves extremely tasty coffee, including the house coffee that was barely phased by a few of tablespoons of half and half, truly fitting for a coffee blend represented by the rock star accentuating the “A” in Alterra.
Keep that Upper Lip Stiff
Having a niche is sometimes just as good as being at the top of your game. Nestled in behind a patch of birch trees, Stone Creek Coffee’s shop exudes the understated and connoisseur quality of its founder. Eric Resch started Stone Creek around the same time Lincoln Fowler, Ward Fowler and Paul Miller jump started Alterra, today the shops are kind of like two cool brothers that took different paths to productive adulthoods.
Baristas tending to a quaint and quiet lounge area, with comfy leather chairs and wood furnishings holding an impeccable golden maple stain, patiently wait for customers to settle on their beverage choices. A modest but sweet selection of bakery and reasonably priced fruit awaits a chance to accompany a smooth cup of freshly drawn coffee. The patrons inside and out have their coffee without a fuss, a bit motley in their own right. The down-to-earth nature of Bay View has thoroughly soaked into the Stone Creek establishment, you might barely know it’s there riding past. Stone Creek’s visual impact barely distinguishes the shop from the surrounding landscape.
Not too long ago Stone Creek did some remodeling of its own. The patio is set with rugged green steel chairs that offer a surprising level of comfort despite their riveted all-conditions design. All-weather industrial strength umbrellas anchored in place shield the tables from the rain or shine. Elongated park benches give a few additional places to settle. A traditional garden fountain trickles audibly, miraculously drowning-out road noise that one might imagine enveloping your outdoor experience, but it just doesn’t.
The coffee tables inside, situated in an acceptable and not too cozy proximity to one another, offer various vantage points, inspired by the Stone Creek slogan accordingly, from which to sip your coffee slowly. Large screened windows make the counter area into a sun porch overlooking the cafe’s patio. Favoring kinship to the traditional beer brew pubs of Milwaukee, Stone Creek notably serves a house ice brewed coffee straight from a beer tap into single serve cups, or take-away refillable growlers, as if you needed a reason to come back.
Enough Sippers for All Occasions
Alterra Coffee Roasters and Stone Creek Coffee Roasters do the brewers of Milwaukee’s past proud Monday – Sunday during regular coffee drinking hours, fittingly with Stone Creek opening a little earlier and Alterra closing a little later.
Growing legend and proprietor of Growing Power Will Allen delayed the grand opening of the Growing Power Deli and Market to pay small token of respect to his neighbors in Oak Creek. Just another reflection of the thoughtfulness that lends soulful heartiness to Growing Power’s most recent effort to sew seeds where they are most needed and might take. MLK is ready to add a handsome crop to its mixed yield of previous development plantings; across the street lay the hulls of Stella’s Restaurant, which before that was a Ponderosa Steakhouse.
In partnership with the King Commons development in the Harambee neighborhood, Growing Power now offers fresh produce and dry goods in a retail market storefront located on Martin Luther King Drive just north of Center Street. To make it even better, there is a modest but appetizing menu of sandwiches and salads salads available from the cafe’s kitchen. MilwaukeeMag did a taste test of the chicken and dumplings, jumbalaya and the Cucavo (cucumber and avocado) sandwich. Then there is every grill’s old reliable: the burger.
The Great Burger Debate
Much ongoing talk is uttered concerning the where-to for a great burger in Milwaukee. Growing Power can safely join the shortlist. For a flat $6, you get a thick grass-feed lean beef patty that you can have with your choice/combination of fixings and bread. The great part about grass-fed beef, in similar way as with free-range chicken eggs, you are reminded of how accustom to com-agra products you are as to find adequately raised and prepared meat and vegetables surprisingly full of unfamiliarly delicious flavors.
I choose to have my burger with pepper jack cheese, Growing Power’s famous mixed-green lettuce, tomato and fried onions. Half-way through my meal, it didn’t cross my mind to rip the corners off of my mustard packets. Don’t bother asking for fries, the menu is designed to fight unhealthy food choices. Instead Growing Power’s produce refrigerators have many choices to accompany any meal. I chose a handful of fresh and crispy green beans for fifty cents.
Growing Power Deli and Market’s friendly service and nice causal atmosphere comes with all the great food Monday through Saturday from 7:00a to 4:00p, serving coffee, bakery and breakfast sandwiches, and a variety of other lunch fare.
Growing Power Aims to bring fresh produce to food desert by Lori Friedrich, OnMilwaukee
The Growing Power Cafe by Chris Christie, MilwaukeeMag
The Growing Power’s Deli and Food Market open for breakfast and lunch by Carol Deptolla, TapMilwaukee