By Addie Radandt | Photographed by Shalicia Johnson
Downtown Middleton is a study in change, with newer businesses joining longstanding enterprises to give the city’s core a fresh look and feel.
Stalwarts like Barrique’s and Hubbard Avenue Diner have been joined recently by upstarts like Helbachs Coffee House, a wide-open space with an industrial vibe featuring locally roasted artisanal coffee. A family run business, Helbachs fills its menu with family recipes, and also hosts a coffee class every Wednesday. Come see them showcase their roasting, demonstrate how to brew the perfect cup or listen to a talk about the farm origins of their coffee.
If you’re looking for a fun night out, Longtable Beer Café has a 300-plus craft beer menu, along with house-smoked meats and several different types of aioli. Their house-made chipotle aioli makes a great dipping sauce for their best-selling frites. The café’s front section opens to the outside, making for a comfortable summer evening hangout.
If you prefer wine over beer, Grape Water Wine Bar offers quality wine without the high price tag and extra frills. And the best part is you don’t have to commit to a full glass if you’re unsure of what you like. Their digitized dispensers have three different settings that pour out exact portions of wine, so you can get just a taste. “It just makes the experience a little more fun, in my opinion, and gives people options,” says Grape Water owner Nicki Prestigiacomo.
Middleton’s boutique shopping options also have grown. You can still buy the perfect party dress at Mes Amies, or get some unique home décor at Fontaine Home or specialty clothing at Chauette. And new store Cloth and Metal, features unique jewelry and timeless clothing. The jewelry, mostly made of sterling silver, is hand formed and cut by owner Lisa McGuire.
The Regal Find is a whimsically unique gift shop that started in 2013, but expanded in April of this year. It features over 80 different local makers and independent artists, most from Wisconsin. From organic bath bombs and lotions to hand made pet beds and candles, you’re bound to find the perfect item for your friend or loved one. “I wanted to work with people who are making things, and I felt passionate about telling their stories and selling their items,” says owner Jessica Regele.
So head west of Madison, where a jaunt to Middleton makes for a great daylong adventure.