By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jan 29, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Why can't I get a real cup of coffee at our shiny, new Amtrak station? Seriously, what's the deal with the rinky-dink vending machines? Was anyone thinking?

Sure, there's a bit of exaggeration in this rant but honestly how can we build a new transportation portal that's already placed a bit far from our Downtown neighborhoods and not include some type of café, restaurant or diner?

I can certainly stop at Starbucks, the Public Market's Cedarburg Coffee or Stone Creek at the Shops of Grand Avenue before I drive to the station. But, why should I have to? And, no, I'm not going to buy it on the train.  But, wait, isn't Stone Creek Coffee's roasting operation right across the street from this new facility? (Yes, you can smell it, but you can't drink it! -ed.)

The City of Milwaukee and WISDOT are to be applauded for transforming the outdated Amtrak station into a landmark to house Amtrak's rail, Greyhound Bus and hopefully light rail and Metra -- along with other bus companies, too -- but the glass atrium isn't finished without a coffeehouse, diner or some type of restaurant. Better yet, multiple restaurants (think Union Station).

Ald. Bob Bauman, who led the charge to build the station in a design sensitive and right way, says, "I have referred several local candidates to the developer and their real estate agent and have expressed my preference for a full service short order restaurant (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as opposed to kiosks or coffee and muffin type of establishments. The city has no formal role in this process. It is entirely in the hands of the developer who controls the entire facility under a lease with WisDOT."

So, there's the City's take.

Now, back to Stone Creek Coffee. I'd love to see a Stone Creek Coffee location inside the atrium at Amtrak. Owner Eric Resch says, "Given our roasting factory is only 1/2 block north of the new Intermodal Station we have discussed the idea of putting in a Stone Creek Coffee at the new station. Amazing coffee on the train -- not a bad idea."

Greg Uhen, president of Eppstein Uhen, tells me that the space is "set up for it (a diner)" and that there's "something in the works for food and drink." 

So, what's the hold up? Why wait? The vending machines are lame; build a real coffee place and / or a restaurant inside our new Amtrak station now! Choo Choo.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.