The owners of Sven's Café pride themselves on being ahead of their time—when Steve Goretzko and his business partner George Voglis began roasting in 1989, they were among the first in Wisconsin to specialize in fair-trade and organic coffee. After Sven’s Organic Coffee Company began to take off, Goretzko decided to open Sven’s Café in Bay View; eventually, he added another location in downtown Milwaukee.
Goretzko hails from Berlin, and Sven’s Café has a decidedly European feel; baristas use Probot and Gothot German roasters to brew fresh java, for example. Sven’s coffee beans hail from the world over, harvested in far-flung locales including Africa, Indonesia, South America, Hawaii, and the moon. The café also serves breakfast sandwiches, paninis, salads, and soups.
At Milwaukee Cupcake Company, visitors can appease sweet-tooth flare-ups with a variety of delectable cupcakes crafted from scratch and high-quality, pure ingredients. Fusing Wisconsin butter, Madagascar vanilla, and Callebaut Belgian cocoa and chocolate, these cupcakes pack a flavorful wallop into a pint-sized form. Patrons can pick up a box of palate-percolating cupcakes such as the chocolate and coconut Fox Points, salted caramel and pecan Tosas, cookie dough South Siders, and green-tea and crystallized ginger Rishi Matchas. Additionally, Milwaukee Cupcake Company offers a new flavor every week (this week's flavor is piña colada) and gluten-free options for those who suffer from gluten allergies or gluten-induced nightmares involving professional baseball players singing Frank Sinatra songs.
Goody Gourmet's specializes in adorning popcorn and other treats with a sweet shellacking of inventive flavors and toppings. The pop shop's friendly staff crafts more than 10 creative corn varieties on a daily basis, including medium-size bags of caramel ($8.50) and jalapeño ($7.25), and large bags of lemonade ($4.50) and white chocolate ($10). For customers of a sweeter persuasion, Goody's handmade confections provide chocolaty respite with batches of cacao-covered snackables, such as almond clusters ($4.50+), pecan turtles ($4.50+), double-dipped graham crackers ($3.15+), and pretzel rods ($4.40). Goody also bags up hull-less caramel and cheese puffs for those unable to consume the puff's pop-corned cousin.
INdustri Cafe evokes local industry in more than its name—its New American menu prizes local ingredients , and it’s served in a rustic warehouse-style space hung with the work of local arts. The bistro brings fine dining out of the realm of diamond-encrusted waiters in order to bring the delicate flavors of lobster, pulled-duck, and truffle oil to a wider audience. The menu shifts with the seasons, but diners can expect to find American favorites graced with a gourmet touch—burgers topped with sautéed apple and poblano barbecue sauce, for instance. Serious Eats found that burger " juicy and rich and well seasoned" with toppings that "all worked together in total harmony."
Weathered wood and exposed brick surround the dining room at INdustri, which is illuminated by rows of bright globe lights. Another level of seating sits atop the bar’s canopy, while beneath it patrons sip from a beer list that only includes Wisconsin brews.
Glass cases and racks of fresh bread dominate National Bakery & Deli’s three locations, which bake all of their goods fresh daily. Founded in 1925, the bakery continually recreates classic recipes for a menu that includes glazed doughnuts, frosted cookies, and cherry-filled coffee cake, as well as hard rolls and french bread. Deli fare includes baked ham, seasonal polish sausage, and several varieties of potato salad. In addition to their staples and custom cake orders, the bakery creates seasonal specialties that range from spring’s grasshopper pie and irish soda bread to winter’s gingerbread men and icy snowman souls. Every Mardi Gras, the bakery churns out piles of prune- and raspberry-filled paczki in a celebrated rush that has drawn great press—though patrons can make every Tuesday fat by perusing their year-round paczki selection.
Jennifer Nowicki really loves produce; she's named her third restaurant Verduras, the Spanish word for vegetables. The completely vegetarian menu employs ingredients such as grapefruit, beets, and teriyaki-infused carrots to insulate sandwiches, salads, and soups, many of which are also vegan or gluten free. However, the ever-shifting curls of steam that tickle the hardwood floors, exposed rafters, and large windows hint at Verduras' primary focus: teas from all across the globe. Beneath the ivory-hued exposed bricks, white, green, rooibos, and local Rishi teas steep in hot water, filling mugs with the flavors of wild rose, hibiscus, or chai. The floral aromas of darjeeling fill the air as patrons gaze at the art on the walls, rendered in crisp black and white like a zebra’s yearbook page.