By Amy L. Schubert Food Writer Published Jun 07, 2010 at 1:12 PM Photography: Whitney Teska

In a small, family-owned café that could be easily lifted and dropped onto Milwaukee's East Side, Franklin's Moondance Gourmet Food and Coffee, 7001 S. 27th St., separates eating areas into a sitting area with leather love seats and a dining area with tables, as well as sidewalk tables for sunnier days.

Magazines, board games and smiling, friendly service had this place packed with families and couples on a recent weekend afternoon.

Food service begins at 7 a.m. daily, and wraps up at 9 p.m. every day except Sundays (8 p.m.).

In addition to Alterra coffee, bagels and English muffins ($1.09-$1.29 depending on accouterments), Moondance offers multiple breakfast options all for under $5.50, including pancakes, French toast, omelet sandwiches and platters.

Lunches venture into sandwiches, again, all under $5.50, and served with chips and coleslaw. Roast beef, turkey and ham all make appearances alongside tuna and chicken salads in roll or hero form.

Add a couple bucks to your order and Moondance will provide you with a panino, wrap (including lamb gyro, $5.99, and smoked Atlantic salmon, $6), or a salad or pizza. This isn't your typical coffee shop menu, folks, and yet even a 12-inch shrimp scampi pizza will only set you back $12.99.

Side dishes include sauteed spinach ($5.95), potato wedges ($1.75), or seasoned breadsticks ($3.95). And a dessert case showcases breakfast bakery (scones, muffins, warm cinnamon rolls) that is only outshone by lovely homemade cheese cakes, brownies, baklava, and cookies.

If bakery is not your thing, however, don't fear. Moondance also offers a gelato bar with over a dozen flavors in dish or cone form.

Moondance offers delivery service, free wi-fi and catering. And in a location where your other options are largely chain diners and franchise fast food, it offers a nice change of pace and welcoming environment in an otherwise unlikely location.

Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.

The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.

Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to