Checking Out the Local Food and Drink Scene
Mar 29, 2013
12:15 PM
The Chow Down

Milwaukee-based Alterra Opening Madison Café

Milwaukee-based Alterra Opening Madison Café

Editor's note: Alterra has changed its name to Colectivo. 

Coffee enthusiasts, rejoice!

The long-anticipated opening of the Alterra on the Square (25 S. Pinckney St., in Tenney Plaza) is but a week away. Next Friday, April 5, at 6 a.m., the company will open the doors to its first café outside of Milwaukee. 

Since opening its first location in 1994, Alterra Coffee Roasters has launched more than ten locations in and near Wisconsin's largest city.

And locavores can get in on the excitement, too: this Alterra Café will feature craft beer from the east side’s One Barrel Brewing Company.

We got Alterra’s marketing director Scott Schwebel to answer some questions about what this new coffeehouse will bring to Madison and how it’s different from its MKE counterparts.

What most excites you about opening an Alterra in Madison?

This is our first café outside of Milwaukee, so that in its self is a big deal for us. We think Madison is an amazing community and we very excited to become part of the Square neighborhood and the city overall.

How long has there been a desire to open an Alterra in Madison?

We have been looking for the right spot in Madison for a while. Looking, waiting, looking…finally the Tenney Plaza location felt right.

What was the catalyst for opening a café here?

Madison is such a great city. Great food, culture, people, neighborhoods, and of course a fun college town. What more do you need!

For those unfamiliar with an Alterra café, how would you describe it?

Our café’s are places to enjoy your self. Great coffee, foodstuff, scratch bakery & artisan bread—now even a craft beer. We take pride in making our spaces enjoyable with a little bit of funkiness and creativity.

What kind of food can people expect?

Everything is made by us. Sandwiches, wraps, burritos, seasonal soups quiches, and specialties items. A full bakery case of scratch-baked goodies—sweet and savory.

Will you use any local Madison products?

We have always used locally sourced ingredients since we began making bakery and food products years ago. Every day, all year round. You’ll have to come to the café to see what’s being offered each day and from where within Wisconsin, including Madison area partners.

Will Alterra bring something to Madison that it’s been missing?

Yes, an Alterra Café.

Can you explain the connection with One Barrel Brewing?

Madison is going to debut our new craft beer offering. One Barrel was an obvious choice for the type of beer we wanted to brew and how we wanted to brew it.

Are there any specialty Alterra drinks that people won’t find at other cafés?

Our beer is only available at this café, not even in Milwaukee at the moment. We also will offer specials across coffee & tea, smoothies and other drink categories that will be prepared by our specially trained baristas.

Will there be anything that distinguishes this Alterra café from the ones in the Milwaukee area?

We spend time with every café we build to make sure it has a unique personality and identity. One cool feature is the indoor/outdoor room on the corner of the café. A large glass wall slides open in good weather to expose the corner of the café to the street.

Is there a typical Alterra customer that you anticipate? 

Our cafes have always been a collection of people—the more the merrier.

Alterra on the Square will be open to the public on Friday, April 5. 

Photo of an Alterra café in Milwaukee by Saturn Photography.  

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