Sophie Bolich

European Cafe Will Replace The Spice House

Sweet Connie's Cafe would serve European-style breakfast, brunch and coffee at downtown storefront.

By - Apr 26th, 2023 02:23 pm
The Spice House, 1031 N. Martin L King Jr Dr. Photo taken Jan. 20, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

The Spice House, 1031 N. Martin Luther King Jr Dr. Photo taken Jan. 20, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

The Spice House vacated its downtown storefront earlier this year, but the seasoning shop may soon be replaced by a new — yet equally flavorful — concept.

Sweet Connie’s Cafe is looking to open at 1031 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., offering European-style pastries, breakfast, brunch and coffee, all with an emphasis on hyper-local ingredients — including produce grown in-house and live, potted herbs at each table for guests to harvest their own garnishes.

Co-owners Consuela Towns and Shelley Wiley are overflowing with excitement for the new concept, which they hope to have up and running by August.

“The gratitude that I feel right now is just so overwhelming,” said Towns, an industry veteran who also holds a degree in culinary arts from MATC. “I’m just so excited for people to taste it.”

Sweet Connie’s will be the first local concept for Towns, though the Milwaukee native previously owned and operated a restaurant in Germany, where she lived for more than 15 years. Germany is where she met Wiley, and though the two were there for “totally different reasons,” according to Towns, they discovered mutual passions and dreams, which they are now pursuing together.

“This is mine, and we’re working on his,” she said. “This is just something that we’re passionate about because we see that it’s needed, and it’s something we can offer. We’ve just found the perfect space.”

Within the coming months, Towns said she aims to transform what was The Spice House into “an herb garden,” with plans to outfit each table with a selection of aromatic greens, with additional pots on display throughout the dining room.

“All of our decorations will be edible,” Towns said.

The lush interior would also feature grow lights — adding a bright and energizing atmosphere while keeping the plants healthy and happy.

On the menu, guests can expect a wide variety of pastries, sweets and homemade bread including brioche loaves that will be sliced and used in the cafe’s french toast. A small selection of traditional breakfast and brunch dishes would also be available, featuring potatoes, tomatoes and other ingredients that Towns said she plans to cultivate in-house. Cakes, mini tarts and pies would be offered throughout the course of the day.

The European-inspired cafe will serve coffee and cappuccinos.

Sweet Connie’s will offer a laid-back vibe, emphasizing semi-self-service to keep up with the “flow,” Towns said. “The plan is to keep it cozy and comfortable.”

Guests can expect a lounge area in the front of the cafe, as well as sidewalk dining. In the colder months, Towns plans to set up heat lamps — also known as heat mushrooms in Germany.

The cafe is expected to be open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and would also offer delivery. A license application also notes plans to add dinner service down the line.

“We’re trying to make sure that people can get a good breakfast. Because I’m all about a good breakfast,” Towns said.

Prior to its closure in early 2023, The Spice House operated at the address for more than six decades, occupying 2,450 square feet of first-floor retail space, as well as the building’s 2,000-square-foot basement.

Seth Dehne co-owns the building with his brother Jake DehneThey purchased the building in June 2021, and also co-own the nearby Lucky CloverState Street Pizza Pub and Red, White and Blue bars and restaurants.

One thought on “European Cafe Will Replace The Spice House”

  1. Polaris says:

    Well, I join the owners in being overflowing with excitement for this new concept…my prediction that it would be another bar on MLK has been disproven (so far).

    All decorations will be edible?! Do I have to pay or can I just eat them? 🙂

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