After serving the community for 12 years, The City Market Cafe & Bakery at 527 E. Silver Spring Dr. will be serving up a last round of creative dishes, housemade breads and pastries on Friday, Jan. 6 from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
But the longtime community gathering space won’t be empty for long. Co-owners Julie Hollingsworth and Jeff Swanson, who purchased the City Market building 13 years ago, have entered into an agreement to lease the space to Eric Resch and Melissa Perez, owners of Stone Creek Coffee.
“We’ve been so privileged to get to know so many people in the neighborhood,” says Hollingsworth. “So it’s easy to get emotional about a change like this. Whitefish Bay has been so good to us and we’ve had such great support from the community for all of these years. But we’ve always said that – if we ever decided to leave – we would sell or lease it to another local business. And we couldn’t be happier knowing that there will be another local cafe moving into the space.”
“It’s definitely a bittersweet decision,” adds Swanson. “Whitefish Bay is a great area and our store has done well there. But I’ve known Eric for over 20 years and I have an immense amount of respect for him. We’re confident that what he has planned will bring real benefit to the area; and meanwhile we can hone in and re-focus on innovation at our Shorewood and Wauwatosa stores.”
What’s ahead for City Market
As for City Market, the 25+ year old business isn’t going anywhere. Hollingsworth and Swanson will continue to operate their inaugural bakery and cafe in Shorewood, as well as the City Market Cafe in Wauwatosa.
“We’re starting a new chapter in 2023,” says Hollingsworth. “This decision will allow us to re-focus on both our Shorewood and Wauwatosa locations and continue to serve the community with our creative, healthful dishes, scratch made baked goods and desserts.”
Hollingsworth says that all current employees from the Whitefish Bay location will be offered positions at either the Shorewood or Wauwatosa locations. In fact, long-time employees like Gilberto Gallo, who was with the Whitefish Bay Cafe for over a decade, has already accepted a position as front of house manager in Shorewood. The change will allow the current manager, Nick Grafenauer, to transition to the role of operations manager, taking on oversight of the bakery as well as wholesale and catering.
“It’s so rare to have such a great management team,” says Swanson. “But I feel like this transition has put us in a very good position to focus even more intently on innovation, adding new menu items and offering the best possible service to our customers.”
A bigger, better Stone Creek
Meanwhile, the new Stone Creek Cafe, which is slated to open in summer of 2023, will mark a homecoming of sorts for Resch, who established his very first cafe in Whitefish Bay in December of 1993. In fact, the flagship cafe served the local community for 27 years before Resch and Perez made the tough decision to close it in spring of 2021.
“My wife and my family and I live in Whitefish Bay, so we’re excited to come back to the place where we started,” says Resch. “Even moreso, we’re thrilled to be able to once again share our coffee, our products and our vision with the community.”
Resch, who has been working with City Market leadership as they transition out of the Whitefish Bay location, says they are excited about their plans to convert the cafe into a Stone Creek Coffee + Kitchen, which will offer similar amenities to their Downer Avenue location.
That includes a menu that adheres to their “E.A.T.” mantra with breakfast and lunch offerings which are equal parts “elegant, accessible and transparent.” Guests can also expect scratch made Stone Creek pastries, beer and wine offerings, as well as the full line of Stone Creek coffee and an updated line of local merchandise.
Pending approval from the Village of Whitefish Bay, Resch says they also hope to add a four seasons porch on the Southeast corner of the cafe, as well as a walk-up window for the location to allow customers to pick-up coffee on the fly.
“We started our walk-up window on Downer out of necessity,” he says. “But it’s become a convenience for our customers which also cuts down on the lines inside the cafe.”
“Coffee is very much a fuel that brings people together,” says Resch. “And we see our cafes as community assets and meeting places. So we love to create spaces that are nestled into neighborhoods like Whitefish Bay. We are hopeful that this new cafe will become an anchor in the community which means so much to us. We can’t wait to share our passion, our work and our care with them.”
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.