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 Sept. 22, 2016
There was a time when removing a building was a dramatic affair: buildings imploded with a boom or were pounded by a wrecking ball. These days, thankfully, there's a growing approach that seeks to keep as much waste out of landfills and reuse and recycle as much material as possible.
Published Sept. 21, 2016
Did you know Milwaukee Public Schools has what might be the largest group of public Montessori schools in the world? Now, led by school board member Tati Joseph, there's a push to add a new South Side dual-language program to that group.
Published Sept. 20, 2016
Even in a neighborhood full of vintage architecture, there's no mistaking it. The Italianate Cream City Brick building at 1704 N. 4th St. looks old. If the area has had a long, varied history (and it has), then Baasen House is perfectly at home here.
Published Sept. 18, 2016
There's no better way to get a peek inside Milwaukee's most interesting - and often most historic - sites, many of them typically off limits to the public, than Historic Milwaukee Inc.'s annual Doors Open Milwaukee event. Here are 10 must-see sites.
Published Sept. 15, 2016
This is Brew City, so it should come as no surprise that we value Milwaukee's beer-soaked history. And Regano's Roman Coin has been a part of that tradition for five decades. In honor of it Regano's is throwing a party and we asked Teri Regano about it.
Published Sept. 13, 2016
Yesterday morning, a group of kindergarteners from Milwaukee Public Schools' Rogers Street Academy visited BMO Harris Bank to judge auditions by local sports mascots for roles in the upcoming production of Milwaukee Ballet's "The Nutcracker."
Published Sept. 12, 2016
This past weekend a Tosa resident staged a huge party at Red Dot on North Avenue in East Tosa with Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Rakim, EPMD and others. I was there for the first night of the two-day jam. Here are some images.
Published Sept. 8, 2016
Yesterday, respected Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra was here to talk about two new shows that feature her work. The main focus was on "Rehearsals," a video installations that opens Friday, Sept. 9. The two works in the installation make their museum debuts here.
Published Sept. 8, 2016
Could a South Milwaukee brewery be on the horizon? Yes, if a local developer gets the OK to move ahead with a new $6.6 million plan announced this morning by South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks.
Published Sept. 8, 2016
During a recent I-94 series, I went to Wrigley and spotted a few Brewers fans. But just a few. There's hardly a better place to road trip to a ballgame than the Windy City. Here are some tips for a sports-fueled jaunt to see the Brewers face the Cubs at Wrigley Field.