Since early this spring, crews have been hard at work bringing the second location of Urban Beets to fruition in the Mayfair Health & Professional Building at 3077 N. Mayfair Rd. And the cafe softly opened its doors today, inviting a small crowd of west siders to experience the beauty of its plant-based cuisine.
Urban Beets, a vegan cafe founded by Dawn Balistreri, opened its first cafe at 1401 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., expanding the cafe last year to include a full dining room and an expanded dinner-worthy menu, along with beer, wine and cocktails.
The interior of the new cafe offers up a rustic industrial chic look that’s softened by plants, pops of color and the myriad smiling faces of staff. You’ll find edison bulbs above the custom-made live-edge ash wood bar, which is surrounded by clean, comfortable white bar stools.
The dining area features tables which were handmade from reclaimed train car box floors that were hand-finished by Urban Beets staff. And Turkish olive baskets have been repurposed as shades for the overhead lighting.
Meanwhile, handpainted lettering on the Northern wall proclaims a welcoming, inclusive message indicative of the Urban Beets mission.
It’s a message that means a great deal to Balistreri, and one she says she’s delighted so many have embraced.
"I’m so excited and happy that this concept has been supported by so many people," she says, noting that her regular customer base includes vegans and omnivores alike. "You don’t need to be vegan to eat fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. One of the things that I think makes us so accessible is that we don’t use soy or meat alternatives, so our emphasis is really on serving scratch-made whole foods that taste great."
The menu, which mimics the cafe’s Downtown location, is filled with wide-ranging options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast beverages include smoothies ($6.75-7), juices and tonics ($5-7), and superfood lattes like Golden Milk (turmeric) and Matcha Mint ($5.50). There’s also Tapuat kombucha on tap ($4-5).
Entrees include smoothie bowls ($7.50) and bagels ($3.95) to power granola ($7.50) and a "Sunrise Sammy" featuring an English muffin topped with housemade "sausage" (made with gluten-free oats, flax and chia seeds), topped with tomato, spinach, red onion and Sriracha mayo ($5.95). Avocado toast features sprouted wheat bread topped with avocado, smoky coconut "bacon" and balsamic ($3.95).
Meanwhile, Lunch and dinner options include a variety of items from salads and sandwiches to grain-based bowls and thin crust pizzas.
Highlights include a falafel "buddah bowl" with warm quinoa, housemade falafel and roasted beet hummus with spinach, pickled vegetables, housemade tahini dressing and a topping of pumpkin and sesame seeds ($9.95). There’s also a vegan beet-based Reuben sandwich featuring corned beets, saurkraut, relish, Russian dressing and Daiya cheddar on marble rye ($9.95). Pizzas include Buffalo with cashew ranch, spinach, buffalo spiced chickpeas, green onions and garlic drizzle; or veggie pesto with white bean pesto, spinach, artichokes, onions, zucchini and seed Parmesan (both are $12.95).
Urban Beets also offers cider, beer, wine and a selection of sake-based cocktails including a sake bloody mary ($9), a pineapple mojito ($8.50) and a blueberry old fashioned ($8.50). Brunch-worthy Prosecco-based cocktails include basil lemonade and a sunshine mimosa for $8.50.
According to Balistreri, the cafe’s hours will be slightly abbreviated to start. Tuesday through Saturday, they’ll be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. But beginning in about a week, they will adopt regular operating hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.