By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Sep 19, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Dryhootch is a new Brady Street coffeeshop, but one with a mission other than to caffeinate the masses. The cafe is open to the public, but primarily serves as a meeting place and support station for military veterans and their families. It officially opened on Thursday, Sept. 16 after a quiet grand opening party on Aug. 28.

Dryhootch, aside from being the name of the cafe, is also the name of the non-profit organization for military veterans. The organization owns the building and runs the coffeeshop. Proceeds from the first-floor coffee shop fund the services provided on the second the floor of the building which include peer-to-peer veteran support, outreach programs for veterans' families, art therapy and more.

"Dryhootch (the coffee shop) is not just for vets. It's open to the public," says Mark Flower, a program director for the United States Army and the temporary manager of the coffee shop.

Dryhootch serves Stone Creek coffee and will eventually offer an assortment of bakery items from Sciortino's Bakery, 1101 E. Brady St. In time, the cafe will be open 24 hours and will offer live music including musicians from the group Guitars for Vets.

Flower says the cafe was originally going to open on the VA grounds, but the plan didn't work out so the group scrambled to find a second location.

"We wanted to find a space near the young vets. We support veterans of all ages, but wanted to be accessible to the younger vets because the military's educational benefits are very good right now and we know there are many vets attending UWM, MATC and MSOE," says Flower, who served in the Army from 1976 to 2006.

The Brady Street building fits the bill perfectly, featuring an attractive courtyard with two trees that create comfortable patio space. The cafe feels fresh and welcoming, and the second-story space is also very cozy.

"There's nothing else like this in the city," says Joseph Mitchell, who provides outreach for Dryhootch.

Mitchell, who served in the Army from 2002 to 2007, went on a tour of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"I don't regret it, but it had it's moments," says Mitchell, who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that caused him to have flashbacks and nightmares.

Vet-to-vet counseling is a large aspect of Dryhootch's mission, and Mitchell says his PTSD became manageable after talking with other veterans.

"These guys helped me tremendously," he says. "You don't have to explain a lot. They know. They have this compassion and this understanding."

Dryhootch welcomes veterans from all branches of the military and is particularly focused on vets who are not eligible for post-duty mental health services because of their discharge circumstances.

"There are a lot of soldiers out there with PTSD who cannot receive benefits and need help," says Flower. "And there are a lot of gay and lesbian soldiers who aren't able to collect benefits, either. Our organization is not bound to rules and regulations, and so we are able to reach out and do what we can to help these folks." 


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.