Kenosha's Best Coffees

3/23/2018 - Jared Rasmussen

Coffee Service is as unique as restaurants in Kenosha Area.
Coffee Service is as unique as restaurants in Kenosha Area.
Coffee Service is as unique as restaurants in Kenosha Area.

It is no secret that our Visit Kenosha blog entices you, the reader, to come spend some time in our city.  For this entry, we shine the spotlight on a visitor that comes to Kenosha from as far away as Africa, Asia, and South America:  the coffee bean!

Like many cities, Kenosha’s coffee hubs fall into three main categories:  your standard cup of joe, the highly-customizable coffeehouse lattes, and the proud house blend that falls somewhere in between the two in terms of elegance and, usually, price.  Here is a brief rundown of where you can find each in our city.

Regular Joe
The standard cup of coffee, typically served hot, has been a staple of the hardworking, meat-and-potatoes folks who make up the backbone of the Midwest.  Often served with breakfast (alongside the aforementioned meat and potatoes), as a mid-morning snack, or with dessert, you will find this variety in most Kenosha area restaurants.  The eponymous The Coffee Pot, a greasy spoon diner in Downtown Kenosha, is known for its coffee that falls into this category.  (Never fear – greasy spoon is merely a term of endearment for this type of diner.  All of their flatware was appropriately clean during my visit!)  Other favorite locations boasting good coffee sans frills include Franks Diner, Choo-Choo Charlie’s, and Bristol 45 Diner.  Looking for a coffee break where the kids and kids-at-heart can pacify their sweet tooth…s (sweet teeth?):  consider visiting Myrtle Mae’s Sugar Emporium, which has a decent cup of coffee to pair with their vast dessert selection!

Lattes and Espressos
The list of Italian contributions to cuisine is long and illustrious, but one of my favorites is the café latte:  coffee with milk and espresso.  Created in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century, the latte caught on in the United States in the 1980s, emanating from the Pacific coast and some relatively famous coffee shop with a mermaid on its logo.  The spread of the café latte not only introduced coffee to a new audience (including millennials like myself), but it also created the coffeehouse culture.  Why drink coffee at a diner counter when you can drink it in a comfy chair while reading a book, using your laptop, or playing a board game?  Forefront in Kenosha in this regard are  The Buzz Café and Harborside Common Grounds, both of which boast the most roasts and some of the coolest venues in which to drink them.  Especially as the weather warms up and the choice of a cold drink is more justifiable, both cafés also have a cold drink menu; just look for the words “frappe” or “iced”, or ask your server.  Not to be outdone, Mike’s Chicken & Donut Bar serves espresso, and while they have fewer flavor shots on hand, their stock mochas and cappuccinos pair well with their donuts. Being a bar, they also have a nice selection of alcoholic “Irish Coffees” for a little extra kick!

Specialty Service
Somewhere between the two ends of the coffee spectrum, house blends are special roasts more common to formal restaurants and delicatessens.  They often include spices and a blend of coffee grounds unique to that establishment with full-bodied flavor but offer less customization.  Some of our area restaurants take “house blend” one step further with special service. House of Gerhard and Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill are good examples of this, so be sure to ask for a coffee with your next meal or with your dessert course!  House of Gerhard promotes the “Silver Tray Way” – serving Julius Meinl Coffee, an Austrian blend popular in many European countries. The service is presented on a silver platter with a glass of water to accompany the coffee, as well as a caramel biscuit to dunk! At Tuscany Bistro, house blend is fantastic, but the signature café beverage is a Cappuccino - reflecting the Italian heritage of the establishment. Tenuta’s Delicatessen offers its own packaged coffee as well as some espresso selections, too, which you can take home to brew for your own House Blend!

Looking for a boost while out shopping?  The Ghirardelli store at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets serves a delicious hot mocha (or hot chocolate, if you’d rather), and mobile coffee shop Mandolin Coffee Company, which frequents the HarborMarket serves its own blend of mochas and “pour-overs.”

Whether you’re feeling hot or cold, breakfast or dessert, fancy or plain, Kenosha’s bevy of restaurants has got you covered!  Let us know your favorite coffee destination and any that we missed.

Jared Rasmussen

Community Blogger

Carthage College Graduate. Kenosha Resident by way of Racine.  Roommate to Allie, the cat. Living near HarborPark. Interests include art, animals, sports, music, and dining at Kenosha restaurants.