With another Alterra cafe not all that far away, at 92nd and North in Wauwatosa, you might wonder if the hometown caffeine kings are pushing it by opening one on 68th and Wells. But when I stopped in this weekend, there was a long line and lots of folks enjoying the patio.
Alterra calls the new place, at 6745 W. Wells St., its first "freestanding, dedicated cafe," though I'd think that distinction would go to Bay View, but, hey, they'd know.
According to a press release announcing the June 30 opening, the cafe – designed by Joe and Janice Niedzialkowski in collaboration with The Kubala Washatko Architects – "features two distinct spaces; one part masonry construction and the other a metal-roofed structure with six fully operable, windowed garage doors to minimize boundaries and give an outdoor feel."
The designs were definitely a success in that area. When I stopped in, it was bright, sunny and warm outside and inside and the lines were blurred as those garage doors were open. I almost can't wait to sit around the firepit on a cool night with some hot chocolate.
"This was an opportunity to create exactly what we wanted...as opposed to fitting it into an existing space, which also can yield great, unforeseen results," said Alterra co-owner Lincoln Fowler.
Like all Alterras, you can get coffee, tea and the usual drinks and house-made bakery, as well as a menu of soups, sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, etc.
But there is also a brewed-by-the-cup coffee bar at which customers can choose a coffee brewed using the pourover method. There's also a beer station with two beers on tap. One Tun IPA and Cortado Imperial Stout were created by Alterra roasting gurus George Bregar and Shawn Bigelow, who are both avid home brewers.
The cafe is open weekdays, 6 a.m.-9 p.m., and weekends, 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.
But, hey, don't forget the independent La Tarte across the street, either. The small French-flavored cafe offers great coffees, bakery and other noshes, too. It's been there a long while and also needs its community's continued support.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.