By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Apr 22, 2019 at 9:01 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

After months in the making, Orenda Cafe, 3514 W. National Ave., will officially open to the public on Wednesday, May 1, bringing a much-needed breakfast and lunch spot to the Silver City neighborhood.

That’s thanks to the vision of owner Leticia Munoz, a young restaurateur who honed her skills operating Michael’s Family Restaurant at 2220 W. Wisconsin Ave. and made the decision just over a year ago to bring another unique concept to fruition. 

The welcoming, modern cafe is decorated in warm cream and blue, with seating for just over 60 at a combination of booths, tables and bar seating.

But we got a peek at the menu as well, which contains any number of drool-worthy dishes.

On the menu

The menu at Orenda Cafe, which includes a mix of both healthy and more indulgent options, will be executed by Chef Margarito Morales.

Among those items are classics like steak and eggs, carnitas hash and chilaquiles, along with steel cut oatmeal, omelets and numerous riffs on eggs Benedict.

Orenda’s Breakfast Bowl features a five-grain blend with couscous, sauteed vegetables, goat cheese, and green onions tossed in a roasted onion dressing; it’s served with an egg prepared how you like it ($10.50).

A smoked chicken and poblano skillet features breakfast potatoes topped with pulled smoked chicken, roasted poblano peppers, Swiss cheese, pico de gallo, hollandaise and cilantro. It’s also topped with eggs, cooked your way ($12).

Sweeter options include house pancakes served with berries and syrup, chia pancakes topped with bananas and buttermilk caramel; and a variety of topped French toasts. Among them is the Jack’s Fire featuring apple compote, pecans, herbed butter and smoked ham or bacon ($10.50, pictured above)

There’s also French toast topped with sweet and savory bacon jam, herbed butter and bourbon syrup ($10).

For those on the go, there are quick nourishing breakfast options, which can be carried out (along with a cup of hot coffee). Those include a breakfast sandwich featuring spinach, onion, pork belly and eggs on a toasted English muffin ($8); and mango toast featuring toasted whole grain bread spread with mango, avocado and beets and finished with lime honey olive oil, sea salt and chili-infused honey ($6).

For lunch, there’s soup and sandwiches including burgers, grilled chicken, herb-grilled salmon and the PBLAT with pork belly glazed in serrano garlic sauce with greens, tomato, avocado and herbed garlic mayo ($12).

There are also hearty salads including apple and goat cheese salad with greens, shredded vegetables and candied pecans tossed in an apple vinaigrette ($10).

There’s also salad with roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, roasted corn and cilantro lime vinaigrette ($8).

At the bar

"Our kitchen emphasizes scratch-made dishes, and the bar will do the same," says General Manager Crispin Ramirez, noting that the bar will feature bottled and canned beer, a small curated wine list (reds, whites, and sparkling) along with cocktails made with fresh juices and high quality ingredients.

Cocktails will run the gamut from classics like mojitos, Manhattans and margaritas to specialty cocktails like the Blind Mexican (vodka, tequila, Rumchata on ice with a Kahlua float); Acapulco (tequila, white rum, agave syrup, pineapple, lime and grapefuit) and the Southern smash (bourbon, Domain du Caton liqueur, orange, mint) and a Oaxacan old fashioned (mezcal, tequila, agave syrup, black walnut bitters), Tito’s watermelon cooler (vodka, lime, watermelon, ginger beer), berry mule.

There will also be brunch cocktails including mimosas, seasonal fruit bellinis and housemade bloody marys, bloody marias and micheladas.

Non-alcoholic options will include custom blended Anodyne coffee, Urbal Tea and a variety of drinks including housemade flavored lemonades, a cucumber ginger grapefruit cooler, a raspberry pina colada and pineapple mojito.

Ramirez says he’s hoping to roll out a number of drink specials at the cafe, including an all-you-can drink bloody mary offering on Sundays during brunch.

Munoz says the cafe will be an evolution. As time moves forward, she says she’d like to roll out a happy hour menu, and possibly offer dinner. In the meantime, the restaurant will be available during evening hours for private parties and special events.

Beginning May 1, Orenda Cafe will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.