Sophie Bolich

Cafe and Event Space Planned for Historic Mitchell Street

Inspired by the internet cafes of South America, La Bodega would combine coffee and community.

By - Aug 18th, 2022 04:30 pm
A mural inside the future La Bodega Space. Photo courtesy of Eleazar Maldonado

A mural inside the future La Bodega Space. Photo courtesy of Eleazar Maldonado.

A new, community-minded coffee shop and event space is planned for the Historic Mitchell Street neighborhood.

Eleazar Maldonado, a DJ for Hittin Hard Radio, plans to open La Bodega at 731 W. Historic Mitchell St. The business would take the place of a former Bilt-Rite Furniture store, below the second-floor offices of Hittin Hard Radio.

The desire to open a cafe has been with Maldonado for a while, he said, noting that he drew inspiration from the culture of internet cafes in South America. Maldonado’s wife is from a South American country and his DJ career has led him to travel extensively throughout the continent. Charmed by the community-focused nature of the cafes, he decided to create something similar back home.

In Milwaukee, free wifi is available in many places throughout the city, so the internet connection is less of a necessity. Rather, Maldonado said he wanted to lean into the community element and work with local businesses, nonprofits and other organizations that help the city, particularly those concerned with youth development, in the La Bodega event space.

One partner, Your Move MKE, combines hip hop and chess to encourage higher-level thinking and self-expression in youth.

The organization is partnering with La Bodega and Hittin Hard Radio next month for “Hip Hoppin Back to School.” The Sept. 3 event will feature free haircuts from Revival the barbershop, a live DJ, yard games, free food from local vendors and free backpacks, school supplies and T-shirts. The event will be held outdoors in the lot behind the future La Bodega space.

“Our mission is to give back to our community that needs it,” Maldonado said. “That’s where the event space comes into play. But other than that, it’s also a good place to come and get a good coffee.”

On the cafe side, La Bodega will offer drip coffee, espresso and nitro cold brew, plus a series of paleta-infused coffees. A food menu includes appetizers, a variety of lunch sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches and quesadillas.

La Bodega will source its beans from the food service company Canteen, and Maldonado said he plans to bring in coffee brands that can’t be found at other Milwaukee cafes.

“They have so many different varieties that people don’t ever touch,” he said.

The cafe will regularly showcase beans from Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina and Honduras, plus a rotating “flavor of the month.”

In the future, Maldonado said he plans to buy a roasting machine and roast coffee in-house with beans sourced from a connection in Mexico.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot space is undergoing major renovations including a kitchen build-out, plumbing and electrical. New front counters, tables and charging stations are also in the works.

Once complete, the cafe will have a tropical theme and seat up to 49 guests, Maldonado said.

La Bodega was originally planned to open Sept. 1, but Maldonado said he encountered a few minor delays. The cafe is nearly ready to open now, he said, and is just waiting on licensing.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us