By Kevin Revolinski | Photo by Hillary Schave (Pictured: Bloom Bake Shop, located in Northstreet)
Sure, you can grab a meal anywhere. But several spots around town boast more than one unique eatery on-site and are located in revitalized, repurposed spaces — creating a sum greater than its parts.
The Eken Park neighborhood is home to Northstreet, a buzzy coffee shop, bakery and craft brewery spot. The lot, which formerly housed a nondescript cinderblock structure with a chain- link fence, now has a building adorned with brightly colored murals and copious outdoor seating. Willy Street favorite Cafe Domestique, Bloom Bake Shop and Young Blood Beer Co. all have second locations here.
Pair up a cappuccino and an almond croissant, or pick up a freshly-baked loaf to go before 3 p.m. In the later afternoon, stop by for a choice of 10 Young Blood draft beers and a short menu that includes Bloom’s soft pretzels and their breads (used in sandwiches).
Tom Dufek, co-founder of Young Blood, praises the support from the neighborhood.
“The cool part [of this] is being part of a neighborhood we really like, and to be in the same space with people who think like we do,” says Dufek.
Northstreet joins Tip Top Tavern and Ogden’s North Street Café to make this area a hip crossroads in Eken Park.
227 North St., northstreetmsn.com
Opened in 2015, this collaborative business brings together three dynamic food and drink establishments, all surrounding a secluded outdoor courtyard. Black Locust Café serves up coffee, breakfast, crepes and sandwiches throughout the day, while Jardin presents an elegant dinner menu that went completely plant-based in 2022. MadisonTap showcases Wisconsin beers, and monthly tap takeovers put up to 14 beers from a guest brewer on draft. Along with burgers and curds, the menu is anything but typical, offering a vegetarian larb California bowl and kung Pao Brussels sprouts. When it warms up, sip your drink in the courtyard, where musicians and DJs provide a convivial vibe, seemingly miles rather than steps from the busy street right outside.
829 E. Washington Ave., robiniacourtyard.com
Heading north on Sherman Avenue, you might roll right past what appears to be—and in fact was—an oil-change service station, complete with double garage doors and racing stripes. There’s still oil here, but it’s in the fryers, and a neon sign depicts an oil can tipping into a coffee cup.
Owner Ben Altschul is no stranger to organically revitalizing spaces — see Tip Top Tavern and the North Street Cabaret. Drawn in by the “semi-permanent for sale sign” at Busse’s Tavern next door, Altschul noticed the listing for Zippy Lube, which “immediately spurred a vision of Zippy Lube coffee,” he explains.
A friend gave him the idea of serving old-fashioned buttermilk fried cake donuts alongside the coffee — a perfect match. But, he felt like something was still missing. Enter the pressure-fried chicken, which carries the business into the afternoon and evening hours.
“As the space was being designed, it became clear that the neighborhood wanted more than just a morning spot,” says Altschul.
While it’s a single business, it’s a brilliant repurposing of a space, with its marriage of donuts and coffee with fried chicken. If you’re still thirsty, you can head next door to Busse’s, which Altschul kept true to its local tavern roots.
2013 N. Sherman Ave., zippylubemadison.com
GARVER FEED MILL
This 1905 sugar-beet processing plant also spent years as a feed mill, but then stood empty for decades. A renova- tion completed in July 2019 brought together an eclectic entourage of businesses. A large communal space hosts winter farmers’ markets and special events, and the Garver Lounge slings cocktails and bites. Permanent residents include Calliope Ice Cream, Ledger Coffee Roasters and Ian’s Pizza. Sitka Salmon Shares is also on-site and NessAlla Kombucha brews here, too.
But, “there are some really cool options not a lot of folks know about,” says Bryant Moroder, a member of Garver’s development team, “including local and seasonal brunch in the Garver Lounge, the ayurvedic kitchen in Kosa Spa and the unique food collabs Ledger Coffee does (like coffee-flavored potato chips). And our newest addition Roll Play Madison offers an array of Asian street food and bubble tea.”
Also redefining the feed mill is their newest tenant, REAP Food Group, a nonprofit supporting a local food system of small family farms, sustainable agriculture and community-wide healthy food access.
3241 Garver Green, garverfeedmill.com
PASTURE AND PLENTY
Pasture and Plenty, the successful farm- fresh café and purveyor of healthful meal kits has added a kitchen incubator for businesses owned by women and people of color. Makers include Tart, Ice Cream Social, Yellow Dog Deli, Kinfolk Nomadic Apothecary and Madison Cheese Boards. Tenant La Cosecha Tortilla Company provides the masa for Milpa’s tamales, another on-site maker.
2433 University Ave., pastureandplenty.com/the-pp-makeshop