By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Apr 19, 2023 at 11:01 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

Wantable Cafe, 123 E. Walker St., might be among the city’s best kept secrets. Tucked back in the throes of the city’s burgeoning Harbor District, this modern industrial cafe got its start as an on premise spiff for Wantable employees. But the well-appointed cafe has now become among the most well-equipped workspaces in the area.

Folks working at WantableX

The counter service cafe offers a full menu of coffee drinks, locally made bakery, housemade breakfast items, sandwiches, salads and snacks. But it also boasts 5,000 square feet of flexible workspace. 

Lounge-style seating areas allow for casual meetings, while communal workstations, high- and low-top tables and even private meeting pods provide flexibility for tasks of any type.  

Lounge seatingX

For folks looking for a low-key spot for afternoon and post-work meetings, Wantable Cafe also offers weeknight happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. offering up $3 beers, $4 house cocktails and $5 wine pours.

Even better, the space is filled with great energy thanks to friendly staff and customers alike.

“We’ve created a space that’s diverse, inclusive, safe and really welcoming,” says Sarah Duthie, Wantable Operational Consultant.  “And that’s something that people notice when they stop in.  It’s about treating people with kindness. That’s the most powerful thing we can give.”

Unique events

Good vibes aren’t the cafe’s only asset. Its flexible space also lends itself to well to events, especially for those looking for something unique, accommodating and affordable. 

Wedding Couple
Photo by Natalie Sanchez Media

Whether it’s a makers market, a corporate event, a private celebration or even a wedding, the cafe space has proven itself to be an asset for folks who are looking for a modern, industrial space that’s like a blank canvas for someone who’d like to think outside the usual box.

That includes operable garage doors for open-air access, a sound system with 11 Sonos speakers, a media wall and an 80-inch television. The cafe also offers up state of the art bathrooms and upstairs suites for bridal parties, along with onsite parking for up to 45 cars.

The space, which accommodates up to 250, is fully customizable and can accommodate buffets, seated dinners or more casual drinks and appetizers. Guests have full access to Wantable Cafe’s fully staffed bar and can bring in their choice of caterers, as desired. 

Thanks to partnerships with area businesses, guests also have easy access to DJ services through Milwaukee Airwaves, table and chair rental through The Ivy House and light up lettering from AlphaLit.

Not sure quite where to begin?  Wantable Cafe's onsite events manager is there to draw up the plans, organize the event and ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.

Happy brides
Photo by Natalie Sanchez Media

“We’re the perfect space for couples who don’t want a traditional wedding,” says Duthie. “Our goal is to make every single couple feel special, and we want to make it easy for them to create the event that they really want.”

Interested in exploring an event at Wantable Cafe? Head to their website for more information and pricing (guaranteed you’ll be pleasantly surprised).

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.