By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 02, 2020 at 12:01 PM

Blend Coffee & Cocktails, a new shop located next to Wheel & Sprocket at Ballpark Commons in Franklin, selling coffee, tea and food items as well as alcoholic drinks, plans to open its doors this week.

“Blend will put equal emphasis on coffee and tea as it will cocktails,” said Mike Zimmerman, CEO of ROC Ventures, which owns Ballpark Commons.

“The shop will serve as the community’s local coffee house by day and pivot to a cocktail lounge in the evenings, where they will feature a specialty cocktail, martini, wine and beer menu.”

ROC Ventures worked with Tradecraft Coffee and Tea Outfitters on the coffee and tea. Blend will offer hot and cold coffee drinks from Colectivo, Frothy Monkey and Dark Matter, RISHI teas and bakery items from Colectivo’s Troubadour Bakery in Bay View.

“Tradecraft has access to the full spectrum of roasters, beans, and food items,” added Zimmerman. “That means our menu will evolve and constantly improve.”

The bright space will have a full bar, as well as table seating and a more casual lounge area with sofas near a gas fireplace. A garage door will swing up and open as weather permits.

At the start, Blend will focus on to-go business and a limited capacity operation of its bar, adhering to guidelines and following preventative measures. Orders can be placed in advance through the Toast Takeout app.

“The ultimate goal of a place like Blend is to facilitate community by curating a food and beverage menu with the process of placemaking. Becoming the local coffee shop and cocktail lounge will bring people together and create meaningful collisions,” said Zimmerman.

“That is our goal in the future when we get past the pandemic. In the meantime, we’ll be perfecting a wonderful mix of coffee, tea, cocktails and food that will be easily accessible.”


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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.