New Coffee Shop Opens in Third Ward
Madison-based Grace Coffee expands to Milwaukee with coffee and espresso drinks, bakery and brunch.
Though it was a weekend of late nights for many Milwaukeeans, a small crowd of coffee enthusiasts braved the predawn chill on Saturday for a first look at Grace Coffee Company, which opened Oct. 28 in the Historic Third Ward.
The early birds were rewarded with hot beverages, housemade pastries and a choice spot to settle in at the cafe, 102 N. Water St. — the first Milwaukee location for Carlos Falcon‘s Madison-based chain.
Grace Coffee operates eight cafes throughout the Madison area — each with a unique aesthetic.
The Milwaukee location is no different. In the roughly 11 months since Falcon revealed plans to expand, the cafe space, previously the site of a short-lived Associated Bank branch, has been completely transformed. The former bare-bones interior now contains a black-and-white marble bar, warm lighting and jade green walls dripping with florals painted by muralist Julie Vornholt. Distressed wood pergolas add visual interest overhead, while velveteen-upholstered chairs and booths invite guests to stay a while.
Just as eye-catching is a display of golden-brown pastries, which are made fresh in-house starting at 2 a.m. daily. Big-as-your-head croissants are topped off with a mound of powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle or a sprinkling of savory spices. The danishes are also massive, featuring coils of laminated dough crowned with custardy cheese and a sprinkling of berries. For the no-frills diner, there are plain — yet well-executed — croissants, buns and other bites.
The cafe also offers a full brunch and lunch menu featuring sandwiches and wraps, loaded toasts, biscuits and benedicts, salads, quinoa bowls, elevated grilled cheeses and miscellaneous offerings such as breakfast tacos and cinnamon roll french toast.
A full menu is available online.
From the espresso bar, guests can expect the usual suspects — americano, cappuccino, cortado and more — along with the miel latte, a Grace Coffee specialty flavored with honey and cinnamon. The cafe also serves drip coffee and cold brew, plus matcha and other teas, lemonade, hot chocolate and Italian soda.
Grace Coffee roasts its beans at a facility in Middleton, and touts its coffee as responsibly-sourced from South America, Central America and Africa. The cafe’s award-winning cold brew is of particular note, having earned first prize in the US Cold Brew Championships at the 2021 Coffee Fest trade show event in San Antonio.
Falcon opened the first Grace Coffee on Madison’s State Street in 2019. The flagship cafe has since closed, but the chain continues to operate locations in Cottage Grove, Madison, Middleton, Milwaukee, Sun Prairie, Verona and Waunakee.
Milwaukee’s cafe is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.