Although Alterra Coffee Roasters is primarily a specialty coffee company, its food and bakery items add an important dimension to the business.
"Alterra’s mission is to deliver an exceptional coffee experience to our customer, co-workers and community. The food and pastries we serve complement the coffee and help round out that experience," says Ramie Camarena, Alterra’s communications coordinator.
Alterra’s food menu comprises sandwiches, wraps, breakfast items, soups, bakery and "grab and go" items. They strive to use locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, including products from Neuske’s, Usinger’s and the Sugar River Dairy.
Currently, six of the Alterra cafés offer food: Alterra at the Lake, Fifth Ward Foundry, Tosa, Bayshore, Grafton and Humboldt.
"A remodeling project is in the works for our Prospect Avenue café to allow for food service within the year," says Camarena.
The menus are the same at all of the locations. Sandwiches and wraps, which are the bulk of the menu, run between $5.95 and $7.25. Both hot and cold options are available, including a fresh mozzarella and an avocado BLT.
"All items served in our cafes are prepared daily," says Camarena.
Homemade soup is available for $2.95 or $4.25, and a house salad is $6.95.
Breakfast starts at $3.25 for granola and milk and tops off at $5.95 for the salmon sandwich. Breakfast items also include bacon or veggie quiche, baked oatmeal, a smoked salmon sandwich and breakfast sandwiches made with Canadian or vegetarian bacon.
A variety of breakfast burritos -- made with locally produced eggs -- are available for $4.95.
On a recent visit, we sampled three of the breakfast burritos: the veggie, the curry potato tofu and the chorizo. All three came piping hot and wrapped in a perfectly toasted tortilla, along with sides of purple grapes and fresh salsa.
Surprisingly, we found the eggless curry tofu to be the most flavorful. It’s packed with scrambled tofu, portabella mushrooms, red bell peppers, asparagus and onions. The veggie was very good, too, featuring a unique flavor from the mix of fresh vegetables, Swiss cheese and rosemary.
Alterra Coffee Roasters started in 1993, and today it has six full cafes and two kiosks. The company supplies beans and coffee to a number of grocery stores, restaurants and independent coffee shops, and is known for its commitment to social and environmental responsibility, as well as sourcing specialty coffees directly from the growers.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency recognized Alterra for its extensive efforts in expanding green power awareness. The company is listed as an EPA Green Power Partner in recognition of its 100 percent use of green energy generated from wind power, biomass decomposition, solar energy and small hydroelectric plants in all its Milwaukee retail locations.
Alterra Cafes are kid-friendly environments. The kids’ menu includes a bagel dog for $3.95 or grilled cheese for $2.95.
According to Camarena, the most popular menu item is the adult version of the grilled cheese, called the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese. It features cheddar, provolone and pepperjack cheeses melted on sourdough and drizzled with chipotle dressing.
"We have plans to source more ingredients from local suppliers and develop a constantly evolving menu," says Camarena.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.