Since I'm staying at my parents' house near Bayshore for a few days, I was eager to check out a new venue at the Town Center, called La Coppa Gelato. I became especially enthusiastic when I learned on Facebook that they have authentic German-style creations (i.e. those served in Germany by Italians) such as Spaghetti-Eis. I had visions of European cafe-style sidewalk enjoyment. I have to say God bless the owners for attempting such a thing, but I think they may have an uphill battle ahead of them.
I sampled a sundae called the Coppa Baileys that is sold for a whopping $8. It was composed of three smallish gelato scoops with abundant toppings. The size is perhaps somewhat larger overall than a medium sundae at Kopp's. It struck me as truly unexceptional. I should mention that the gelato has a very low butterfat content compared to what we know as ice cream. Milwaukee's staple frozen dessert, frozen custard, has a higher butterfat content still. La Coppa advertises its butterfat content as being on the lower end of the gelato scale. I enjoy all frozen custard, but am partial to Leon's. I can eat one scoop of Leon's custard and be satisfied--a fact for which I'm particularly grateful, as I'm watching my weight.
I felt that the La Coppa sundae needed something, as if some ingredient had been forgotten. I recall the sundaes in Germany having liqueur--indeed, such as Bailey's--drizzled generously over them. This sundae had some Bailey's taste at the bottom, but not very much. If I get one again, I'll bring my own Bailey's and pour some on (and then, you know, pour some in the coffee...). They have a nice Schaerer superautomatic espresso machine, but the latte I had was simply poor. While it didn't have an off taste, it didn't taste much of coffee, either. Just kind of a bland, nondescript hot drink taste. I'd advise leaving the coffee portion to the pros a few doors down.
I will certainly be back for at least one more try. I've seen a few different businesses try to get casual outdoor seating to catch on in the North Shore suburbs, and they all deserve a medal. It's tough to get people to loosen up and sit at the tables, except perhaps in a (more) controlled environment like Cedarburg. Even the Bayshore Alterra's outside seating seems to have fallen into relative disuse compared to three or four years ago.
One of the megatrends I want to talk about in the future life of this blog is the death of public space in Milwaukee (and some other cities), at least public space of any consequence. I'm now in a place that has gone through an interesting lifecycle that I find mostly depressing. One very positive thing I will say is that the decor is masculine. It occurred to me earlier that to compete with Alterra, Stone Creek should market to men. Kind of Machiavellian, but such is today's market. In terms of product, I think the situation is largely the same as four years ago: there are "last mile" challenges to be overcome. Stone Creek's core product--the beans, and the drinks when prepared by key employees who have more advanced skills--is excellent. Unfortunately, in other cases, consistency is not always there. And I think the current economic environment is proving to be a stern taskmaster.
Grocery superstore Woodman's has entered Milwaukee County with a store on S. Howell Ave. in Oak Creek. I'm intrigued by the company and its emphasis on frugality. No doubt, I'm not alone in being dissatisfied with current grocery options. More power to them!
On March 11, Quasi-Cafe will have its official reopening from 11:00AM– 2:00PM in the new Bucketworks facility at 1340 North Sixth Street. Located in the main entrance, artists and art gawkers can step up to the window and order their favorite espresso drink within mere seconds of coming through the door.
If the name gives you a feeling of underwhelming confidence, at least it's true to source. The place has a definite diner feel, with old-timey booths and mismatched chairs, but if you're at Bucketworks to paint or take a spin on the pottery wheel you don't wanna be faced with a swanky café in your splattered scrubs when you need a break, do you? Course not.
Costa Coffee, one of the largest roasters, wholesalers and retailers in the United Kingdom, opened a new café in Aberystwyth, Wales yesterday and managed to do it in the worst possible way. With your indulgence, I'd like to offer up a brief rant of just where this company went wrong.
Mistake #1: Opening the café on high street without planning permission from the Ceredigion County Council.
Mistake #2: Ignoring a letter from Aberystwyth Town Council requesting that they provide bilingual signs.
Mistake #3: Believing they could get away with such obviously thoughtless and disrespectful actions in the land of the proud and passionate Welsh--not that it would be more acceptable anywhere else, mind you.
After centuries of repression and abuse, the Welsh people have worked long and hard to safeguard their distinct heritage, and even with all their dedication only about a fifth of the population can speak their native tongue. In a time when the world is experiencing an epidemic of cultural and linguistic extinction, it is truly unconscionable for any company to ignore those cherished things that give people a solid sense of identity.
For Costa Coffee, this is not merely a public relations crisis, this is a cultural and social faux pas of the highest magnitude. People are no longer willing to put up with bad corporate behavior just to get a business to come their town. And claiming ignorance of the existing local cultural and governmental environment can longer be used as an excuse.
If Costa Coffee cannot comply with reasonable local government stipulations or the simple requests of the general populace, who are their potential customers after all, they deserve to have their shutters closed and their shingle removed.
I am going to try to make it out to Brookfield Square for Fresh Market's Grand Opening, but if I do, it won't be until shortly before their 9 p.m. closing time. They are giving out free sample bags of coffee—save one for me!
Reprinted courtesy of Bay View Compass where this article first appeared in the July 15, 2007 issue
New cafe with singles slant
After working in the health care industry for 30 years, Shari Franz decided it was time for a change.
Last September, at the encouragement of her daughter, she moved from her native Waukesha to the Landing condominiums in St. Francis. In February, inspired by thirsty cyclists on the Oak Leaf Bike Trail and the sense that St. Francis lacked non-bar options, she decided to offer a coffee house to cater to local singles. By March she was negotiating with Ralph Bruno to lease 1,800 square feet in a newly erected building at 3558 E. Sivyer Ave.
Despite construction delays, Franz plans to open FIXX Coffee House--on Packard Avenue noth of Howard and south of Lake Drive--Aug. 7.