Milwaukee’s biggest independent coffee roastery and retailer, Alterra Coffee, is expanding its footprint with plans to open a 3,000-square-foot retail cafe off Madison’s Capitol Square this spring. Alterra, which was founded in 1994, currently operates 11 Milwaukee-area cafes, as well as roasting facilities.
“We are excited to open our first Madison location this coming spring,” says Alterra co-owner Lincoln Fowler. “One of my partners — Paul Miller — is an alum of UW-Madison, and I spent time as an undergraduate, as well. We have a great association with both the city and the university and look forward to strengthening those connections.”
The Madison cafe will include all of Alterra’s normal caffeinated drink and food offerings, as well as a single cup brew bar for special coffees and tastings. Bakery and savory food items are prepared from scratch, and the company sources much of its food from Southern Wisconsin providers.
Fowler says Alterra boasts a lot of in-house beer talent, and that it is currently in talks with a well-known local brewer for an original beer collaboration. Says Fowler, “Although not locked and loaded, we think the cafe may be the first cafe to feature these Alterra-original beers.”
Alterra is still getting to know the building, owned by Madison property company Urban Land Interests, but Fowler says the interior space will most likely feature the kind of honest material palette with metal work and work-worn construction that characterize many of the company’s Milwaukee cafes. “We love minimizing boundaries,” says Fowler. The front and adjoining side of the building will open to the square and help connect inside to outside.”