Jazz drummer Sam Belton has long since nurtured his love of coffee in Milwaukee. After dreaming about it for a while, Belton – a Rufus King grad – opened his City.Net Cafe in the Enderis Park neighborhood in 2004.
Though that location closed a few years later, Belton has been selling coffee at a City.Net location in the County Courthouse for about five years. Now, he's in his second week of business in East Town, where he's set up his latest jazz- and caffeine-fueled City.Net in the former Dunkin' Donuts at 306 E. Wisconsin Ave.
With a new Hilton Garden Inn visible from the front window and the new Marriott construction moving along even closer, this City.Net is perhaps more primed than its West Side predecessor for success for Belton.
Alongside a range of sandwiches and chili and bakery and coffee and tea, Belton dishes up free wi-fi, a constant stream of jazz and the kind of service you expect from an independent mom and pop place.
Belton also has a roaster on site and can roast beans of all kinds while you wait.
The cafe is open from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays and from 8 until 5 on Saturdays. Belton will celebrate a grand opening from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 15.
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.