Like many in Milwaukee, I've rued the fact that so much of Downtown turns its back on the street. There are more than a few of us who believe that The Shops of Grand Avenue would live a more vibrant existence if it did a better job of embracing the street.
The new Colectivo cafe that officially opened today at 223 E. St. Paul Ave., across from the Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward, throws its arms around the sidewalk, and by extension, the market across the street.
That's a big part of the allure, co-owner Lincoln Fowler told me this morning as we stood on the sidewalk and had a clear view into the entire cafe.
"We wanted to connect to the market," he said, gesturing across the way.
To do that, Colectivo used an open concept that blurs the line between exterior and interior and built some bar-and-stool seating outside, too. In order to make it work in terms of permitting, the cafe's goods had to go behind glass and the food prep area in the back is separated by a wall.
But none of that will really have any effect for the customer, who can sit "inside" on a rainy day and watch the drops fall while enjoying a coffee. On a beautiful day, this place will be packed.
The grab and go sandwiches, baked goods from Colectivo's newly rebranded Troubadour Bakery and the rest make it a perfect complement to the market's food court-style lunch concept.
Because he opened it -- in the space long occupied by Third Ward Caffe (no, the Orvieto mural does not appear to survive) -- it's clear that Fowler and his partners aren't concerned that there's a Starbucks around the corner, a Cedarburg coffee in the market and Bella Caffe, a Stone Creek and Sven's within an easy stroll.
"We have just always tried to focus on what we do best," Fowler said.
But, there's also a Colectivo a mere four blocks south in Walker's Point, too...
"We expect there will be some cannibalizing but we'll just deal with it," Fowler said with a smile, adding that his partner Paul Miller has long lobbied for a Third Ward location.
"We really wanted to be in this location."
Now, if we could just convince the pols not to rebuild that stretch of I-794 that's been torn down...
People like what they like, I don't see what's wrong with having options. Really, if you love Starbucks it's not like you are not going to still go there regardless of Colectivo being right down the street.
It's still local coffee and there is a reason they are doing so well; the coffee rocks!
I agree....I'll only frequent the small, independent neighborhood coffee/bakery shops...like Cranky Al's in Wauwatosa.
Why would Lincoln be concerned with being so close to the Cedarburg coffee in the Public Market, the Bella's, or Stone Creek, or Svens? He wasn't concerned about opening in BV across from Stone Creek, or in Tosa across from Le Tart. Cannibalize from his own stores? It's probably easily offset by the existing shops he's moving in on.
I'm all for capitalism and seeing a local company do well, and I'm ready to be knocked for being a communist here, but something doesn't feel right. I suppose I should be happy that they were successful enough to get their $million buyout from MARS, but using that money to open up so close doesn't feel very much like the local Alterra of old.
Think I'll stick with the little guys who appreciate the business.
3 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published July 28, 2016
For decades, St. Mary's Academy was an all-girls Catholic school housed in a striking 1904 cream city brick building. However, once nearby Thomas More High School went co-ed, the death knell arrived for St. Mary's, which closed in 1991. Come with us to see inside.
Published July 26, 2016
It's been 11 years since Commission Row gasped its last breath. Now, the building at 322 N. Broadway that hung on until the end of the street's run as a produce hub is being redeveloped into retail and office space. We go inside and take a look.
Published July 22, 2016
On Wednesday evening, Milwaukee Public Library hosted a community meeting at the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, on Mitchell Street, about a new branch nearby in the former Hills Building at 906-910 W. Mitchell St.
Published July 21, 2016
Walker's Point-based ceramics sculptor, teacher and architectural historian Ben Tyjeski is also a leader of walking tours around town; ones that focus on the city's terra cotta, the subject of a book he's working to get published. His next tour is on Sunday.
Published July 21, 2016
One of many breweries on tap for Milwaukee this year, City Lights is perhaps the most exciting for me. But not necessarily for the beer - though I'm eager to try that, too, of course - as much as for its Alexander Eschweiler-designed home.
Published July 20, 2016
When folks dig, I always hope something turns up. Except, that is, when excavation began in June for a new addition to Maryland Avenue Montessori School on the East Side, where I am a member of the School Governance Council and also served on the building addition team.
Published July 20, 2016
More than 50 years after the Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show," Beatlemania has barely subsided. This week, Beatles die-hards will be thrilled at the chance to meet Ron Campbell, director of the 1965 Beatles cartoons and "Yellow Submarine" animator.
Published July 19, 2016
The Windy City has a vibrant and fun Chinatown neighborhood just south of Downtown, but there are other ways to experience Chinese culture in Chicago, too. Here are some ways visitors of all ages can celebrate Chinese culture in Chicago.
Published July 18, 2016
In advance of a community meeting this week to discuss design plans for a new South Side library on 9th and Mitchell to replace the Forest Home Library, Milwaukee Public Library has released an image showing how the interior of the new library might look.
Published July 15, 2016
In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, Georgie Porgie's Treefort Restaurants are partnering with OnMilwaukee on a Flavor of the Day frozen custard contest. Deadline for submissions is Monday, July 25.