7 HIDDEN AND UNDERRATED MILWAUKEE-AREA COFFEE SHOPS

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2. Sprocket Café (3385 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View)

Sprocket Café, adjacent to Rusty Sprocket Antiques, is aptly named, displaying a vintage bike in the window and metal signs on the walls. Retro mugs lining the countertop, and granny-square afghans draped across the couches are all for sale.

Sprocket serves up Anodyne coffee and a variety of seasonal drinks—currently, hot apple cider and a peppermint mocha. Some baristas, such as John Sepulveda, are certified through Anodyne Coffee and Stone Creek Coffee, which helps them share their love and knowledge of the bean with customers.

Menu items include bagel sandwiches such as the “Trike,” chicken chipotle with cheese, and daily soups. Readers will appreciate the bookshelf stocked with free books and back issues of magazines, kind of like a Little Free Library. After your coffee break, head to the antique shop next door and browse through beer, hot rod, gardening, and other memorabilia of yesteryear.

3. Avenue Coffeehouse (911 Milwaukee Ave., South Milwaukee)

Every community should have at least one independent coffee shop. Bay View is lucky to have at least five—not to mention several Starbucks, a Colectivo, and Stone Creek. Other cities, such as Cudahy, are woefully lacking a proper caffeine junction, despite residents’ pleas. South Milwaukee, however, is fortunate to have the Avenue Coffeehouse.

Sara Lewkowski and her boyfriend Aaron Ruiz opened Avenue, formerly City Sippers, in September 2016. Business is good, says Lewkowski, a former City Sippers barista. “More people are finding out about us every day. Everyone likes having a local coffee shop,” she says.

According to Lewkowski, popular drinks include butter coffee, a drink blended with coconut oil, grass-fed butter and coffee that has health benefits such as increased mental clarity, and the Peanut Butter Cup mocha (peanut butter blended with white chocolate syrup). Colectivo’s Troubadour Bakery provides Avenue with baked goods such as pumpkin cranberry muffins and zucchini bread. Cute kitty figurines, comfortable secondhand furniture, and personal touches such as a Bill Murray picture on the wall help give the café a homey atmosphere.

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