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Apr. 4, 2012
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Alterra Coffee Roasters

2211 N Prospect Ave., 273-3753

1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, 223-4551

170 S. First St., 765-9873

777 E. Wisconsin Ave.

   (U.S. Bank), 225-8970

   2500 N Mayfair Rd.

   (Mayfair Mall), 453-9202

5735 N. Bayshore Drive

(Bayshore Town Center), 967-5754

2999 N. Humboldt Blvd., 292-3320

1211 Washington St., (262) 377-5183

9125 W. North Ave., Suite 101 259-7948

Alterra has been become a local empire rivaling Starbucks in our area; their brands of coffee are sold in stores and served in restaurants and success follows wherever they open their own outlet. Serving coffees, smoothies and signature drinks, Alterra's rustic-meets-industrial interiors make it a perfect place to curl up with a paper or a laptop. A mix of herbal teas completes Alterra's drink list; bakery and sandwiches are served. (D.L..) $. CC. OD. Handicap access.

Amaranth Bakery & Café

3329 W. Lisbon Ave.

Amaranth's scones are made with creative combinations, like cardamom pear and macadamia nut with ginger. An extensive selection of slow-rise artisan breads includes sourdough and Italian along with potato chive and chocolate bread. Amaranth Bakery is also known for its rugelach, a cream-cheese pastry made with apricots, berries and nuts. The owners are committed to using locally grown and seasonal produce when possible. Amaranth also offers slowly simmered homemade soups and salads made with fresh greens and vegetables. (S.B.) $. CC. (414) 934-0587

Anodyne Coffee Roasters

2920 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Big sunny windows bring light into the cleanly designed interior of this coffeemaker-cum-coffee shop. A wide variety of tea is also on tap along with bagels and other bakery. The low hum of the coffee grinders doesn't disturb the relaxed conversational ambience.  (D.L.) $. CC. Handicap access. 489-0765

Bella Caffe

189 N. Milwaukee St.

Coffee of all kinds, tea and cider, bakery and sundaes, sandwiches and salads: Bella Cafe has many of the usual coffee house flavors. It's also one of Milwaukee's most attractive coffee shops. Bella's high-fashion tables, chairs and comfortable seating areas, and its futuristic lighting fixtures are retro futurism at its finest, a gem of urban design. (D.L.) $. CC. 273-5620

Birdie's Café

4110 W. Martin Drive

When the delightful Highland Park Pies and Cafe became Birdie's Café thankfully little was changed. Birdie's exudes charm with slate floors and a few other hideaways amid a cozy clutter of bric-a-brac. Breakfast and lunch are served all day and include modestly priced bakery and egg dishes, creative sandwiches and appealing salads. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. OD. 933-9303.

Bremen Cafe

901 E. Clarke St.

The scruffy bohemian pub recalls a European café, despite the fairly serious pool hall in the back. Across from the bar hangs framed caricatures of Milwaukee business pioneers, from Gustav Pabst to Charles Pfister.  There's no cover charge for live alt-country, gypsy jazz and bluegrass. Bremen Café serves a menu of hot and cold sandwiches with many unusual touches and vegetarian options plus a good selection of Wisconsin craft beers. (K.L.) $. CC. FB, OD. 431-1932

Brewed Café

1208 E. Brady St.

The Historic Brady Street attraction's bright purple façade is hard to miss. The interior—also vibrant, furnished with comfortable recycled chairs, and festooned with tinsel, stained glass, beads and local artists' work—is hardly less eye-catching. As for the menu, expect hearty healthy fare including sandwiches, wraps, burritos, flatbread pizza, soups and salads. The coffee run-down is respectable, with tasty seasonal selections. Hip and centrally located, Brewed Cafe is the perfect place to study, socialize or simply take in the appetizing sights and smells. (S.M.) $$. CC: VS, MC. OD. 276-2739

Caribou Coffee

418 N. Mayfair Road, 777-0280

17335 W. Bluemound Road, (262) 786-5917

1890-A Meadow Lane, Waukesha, (262) 513-1365

Caribou is true to its name. The design of the Midwest chain suggests rustic ski lodge, complete with wood floors, stone fireplaces and slanted beam ceilings. The small assortment of bakery and beverages has recently been augmented by “daybreaker” burgers. Good strong coffee and a hospitable atmosphere for conversation or searching the Net is still the main reason for coming. (D.L.) $. CC. OD.

City Market

2205 E. Capitol Drive, 962-0100

8700 W. Watertown Plank Road, 479-0479

8725 W. North Ave., 453-0000

City Market's three locations are bustling places humming with conversation. The coffee/sandwich shops serve Stone Creek along with a variety of tastefully composed breakfast and lunch specials, salads and pasta dishes. An array of delectable baked goods and desserts are on display. (J.B.) $. CC. NA. Handicap access.

Fuel Cafe

818 E. Center St.

For hellacious menu spice, try the homemade vegan chili, or maybe the Garden of Eatin' sandwich slathered with jalapeno cream cheese. The bottom line and the starting line here is motorcycle racing. Trippy motorcycle cartoons adorn the booth seats. The 'zines on the rack range from Maximum Rock 'n' Roll to Classic Bike and dirt bike racing photos cover the walls. Here's where Harley culture comes to chill with its hippie hangovers. (K.L.) $. CC. Handicap access. 374-3835

Hi-Fi Café

2640 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Brightly decorated and inviting, this decidedly retro coffee shop in the Bay View neighborhood serves up hefty sandwiches in addition to organic, fair-trade coffee drinks, malts and baked goods. Vegetarians are particularly well served by a menu that offers veggie chili, a falafel pita, a garden burger and several other cheese and vegetable sandwiches (including a humus pita and a provolone muffaletta with olive pepper salad). Breakfast options, such as omelets, eggs benedict and a loaded breakfast burrito, are served until noon or later daily. (E.R.) $. Cash Only. SB, OD. 486-0504

Java Train

4825 N. 132nd St., Butler

Java Train is a comfortable community hangout as well as a coffee and sandwich shop. The home cooking is reason to drive a little out of your way, especially the delicious daily soup specials and sandwiches like the ones mom made. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. (262) 781-9555

Panera Bread

15040 W. Greenfield Ave.,  (262) 641-0550

3200 Golf Road, Delafield, (262) 646-5510

N9340 Rivercrest Drive, Menomonee Falls, (262) 251-8559

600 E. Ogden Ave., 224-0200

690 Westfield Way, Pewaukee, (262) 691-7777

1300 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, (262) 834-9999

2095 N. Calhoun Road,  (262) 641-9999

2500 N. Mayfair Road (Mayfair Mall), 831-7777

5595 N. Port Washington Road, 962-4775

7840 W. Layton Ave., 281-9999

8907 S. Howell Ave., 764-8699

Panera Bread is a sophisticated blend of high-quality food and service, and trendy but casual ambiance. Together, the bakery and café offer a wide selection of pastries, bagels, and coffee; as well as flavorful soups, salads and paninis. The artistically arranged portions are filling, but reasonable. Choose the “You Pick 2” deal to customize a full meal. Beverages include refreshing lemonade and smoothies that perfectly complement the spicier dishes. Varied seating is available within this cheery earth-toned establishment, and the friendly staff and diverse clientele make Panera all the more inviting. (S.M.) $. CC:. OD. Handicap access.

Rochambo Coffee

& Tea House

1317 E. Brady St.

With its Euro-bohemian atmosphere and unique collection of art posters from the 1960s and '70s, Rochambo's ambiance stands out among local coffee shops. Wine and a small sandwich menu round out the list of coffee and tea. (D.L.) $. CC. 291-0095

Sherman Perk

4924 W. Roosevelt Drive

This gas station turned kosher coffee shop serves a variety of caffeinated beverages as well as smoothies, sodas and juices.  If it is more than just hydration that you seek, Sherman Perk also offers a selection of bakery items. And don't forget the entertainment!  Featured performances typically include poets, bands, and individual musicians on a semi-regular basis.  Once a month, clientele are treated to karaoke as well as a change in the artist whose work is on display to keep the décor fresh. (K.N.) $. CC. 875-7375

Sphinx Cafe

1751 N. Farwell Ave.

Though small, the spot offers plenty of charm. Along with a selection of coffee and tea are glass display cases filled with muffins and Mediterranean sweets, with treats such as baklava, kanefeh and balah el sham. The décor is exotic with comfortable seats upholstered in kilims, and Egyptian handicrafts and water pipes are for sale. $. CC. NA. (J.B.) 220-9996

Stone Creek Coffee

601 E. Silver Spring Drive, 332-2285

4106 N. Oakland Ave., 964-1608

8340 W. Bluemound Road, 443-1302

Shops of Grand Avenue, 2nd Street skywalk, 298-9965

2266 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 481-4215

2644 Hillside Drive, Delafield, (262) 646-2241

6969 N. Port Washington Road, 228-8699

1043 E. Summit Ave., Oconomowoc, (262) 569-7375

At Stone Creek Coffee, socially responsible fair-trade coffee meets tasty, fresh-baked scones, croissants, pastries and more from City Market. No-hassle, free Wi-Fi is the proverbial cherry on top. With eight locations, there's bound to be a Stone Creek Coffee in your neighborhood, offering a genial environment in which to sip lattes and surf the net. (A.M.) $. CC. NA. Handicap access.

Sven's Cafe

2699 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Sven's has done Herculean work to make the interior resemble an Amsterdam cafe, complete with long benches, wooden furniture and a nook with fireplace. Along with an array of tea and coffee drinks, and scrumptious bakery, Sven's offers a hearty sandwich-salad menu with such Euro-inspired options as the Bastille (turkey sandwich), the Autobahn (ham), the Parthenon (Greek salad) and the Coliseum (Caesar). Opens early for breakfast. (D.L.) $. CC. 483-2233


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