By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Feb 26, 2019 at 11:30 AM

Construction is nearing completion on the Vantage on the Park Apartments in the former Park East Hotel at 916 E. State St.

Among the amenities for residents will be a new experiential coffee shop and cafe from Chicago-based Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea, which will offer a wide selection of coffees and teas from roasters and tea purveyors across the country, along with a menu of chef-driven menu items.

The new venue, which will occupy a portion of the former Durbar Restaurant on the corner of Astor and State Streets, is expected to open this summer.

What to expect

Fairgrounds, a cafe whose name is evocative of the joy and wonder found at the fair, operates under the motto: "bringing people together through the joy of discovery." They currently operate two locations (soon to be four) in Chicago, as well as cafes in Los Angeles, California and Minneapolis.

Like other Milwaukee cafes, including Alderaan Coffee and the forthcoming Canary Coffee Bar, Fairgrounds won’t limit itself to coffee beans from just one roaster. In fact, it will utilize cutting edge technology to serve pour-overs with coffee from a rotating cast of roasters including Spyhouse Coffee Roasters (Minneapolis), Verve (Santa Cruz, California), Dark Matter Coffee (Chicago), Stumptown (Portland, Oregon).

Tea offerings will be equally as compelling thanks to an inventive program operated in partnership with Milwaukee’s own Rishi. Whole leaf teas will be served hot or iced and matcha whipped to order.

Meanwhile, both tea and coffee will be incorporated into a variety of elixirs including Power Flower Milk Tea with matcha, jasmine butterfly pea flower tea, jasmine simple syrup and a choice of whole or coconut milk; and the Vosges Coconut Charcoal Elixir with activated charcoal, 100 percent cacao chocolate, coconut puree and coconut water. Additional beverages include cold brews, kombuchas and sparkling teas on tap.

The cafe will also feature a menu of breakfast favorites including avocado toast (pictured), huevos rancheros, breakfast tacos and acai bowls along with a variety of sandwiches (roast beef, turkey and brie, roasted vegetable) and salads.

Snacks will include favorites like a soft pretzel served with spicy mustard and housemade nitro cold brew cheese dip.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.