At the Bay View Anodyne café, we found ourselves observing the variety of folks gathering in the space on a sunny Saturday morning. The locals wander in and out, greet the baristas and fellow customers that they clearly see on the regular; families with small children play with toys and run around the café while the parents try to have a moment of peace as they catch up with friends. Coffee aficionados and voracious readers slide up to the bar to watch the barista’s backs as they frantically pull ‘spro and drinks from the brand new spring menu.
The place moves—there is not a moment where the staff slowed down, and that energy is buttressed by chefs firing up the wood fired pizza oven, presumably getting ready for the lunch crowd and beyond. You heard me right—pizza oven. Anodyne is consistently able to create unique identities in their cafes, all while holding true to the Anodyne core values.
The café is bright. Windows line the southern and western walls, allowing light to swarm the room. People jockey for tables that are adjacent to the sunlight, but not directly in it. Two tables lie empty on the far side of the café, presumably because the heat from the sun is unbearable for Milwaukee folks that have just come out of a gloomy, grey week. Other than that, there is not a spot available. Bright…and a little tight. Space is at a premium, but that doesn’t diminish the coziness—a couple sit down next to us with book and newspaper in hand, and immediately strike up a conversation. It is space where you could go and spend a couple of hours, either alone or with a friend.
We called in the pros this time – we were honored to be joined by pizza connoisseur Nicholas Picchietti, music producer and pop artist Adam Hernandez, and fellow writer / coffee enthusiast Adam Jussel!
On to what we came here for: the coffee. They’re brewing Kenya AA Kigari and Peru Norte today, but according to one of our favorite Anodynians (if that’s not a term already, we’re inventing it now), Robert Reitman, we needed to check out the brand new spring menu so that’s where we started first!
Lavender Espresso Tonic – Adam Jussel introduced us to the Lavender Espresso Tonic from Anodyne’s spring menu. These are his thoughts on the drink: “A layer of opaque lemon San Pelligrino is sandwiched between a ring of translucent, rose-colored lavender syrup, and an espresso dome cap. It is immediately sharp and refreshing, in part due to the Pelligrino cutting through the espresso, with a sweet finish. I didn’t stir, and the barista said there wasn’t a right way to attack the beverage. Choose your own adventure, right? It’s one that makes me long for warming weather, and a bench in a park. If Anodyne made us want to pine for summer any more, mission accomplished.”
Rosemary Latte – Another one of Anodyne’s new spring drinks, the Rosemary Latte was one of those that we ordered on a whim, eager to try something new. Made with oat milk and a house-made rosemary simple syrup, the latte was smooth and consistent as we expected from an Anodyne establishment. The earthiness of herbal rosemary was was a present, yet not powerful, kick to the warm drink, underlined by the oat milk and almond tasting notes of the espresso – perfect for spring.
Doppio – We all have our barometers for a great coffee shop, and we enjoyed learning about Adam’s. “I had a doppio of the Mind Tonic Espresso. A barometer of a great coffee shop and barista will be for me, always, a double shot. In this instance, an excellent pull made the Mind Tonic taste of milk chocolate, with little or no acidity. A blend of coffees from Central and South America, it is approachable, and not too aggressive. It is one that I would definitely enjoy again.”
Iced Caramel Latte – Another barometer for us is the caramel latte, if you haven’t noticed. The balance between the syrup, milk and espresso is a science, and a good way to test the authenticity of the flavoring when contrasted to the espresso notes. We got this one iced because it’s above 10 degrees outside (which is considered a heat wave in Wisconsin) and it was completely consistent with every other iced caramel latte we’ve ever tried from Anodyne, which is admirable!
My Buddy – This vanilla almond cappuccino was a delicious and refreshing iced drink for those warm summer days ahead, and was a lovely twist on a traditional cappuccino. Sweet and smooth, the espresso takes a backseat to the vanilla and almond flavors, but is still powerful enough to pick you up while getting work done or hanging with friends.
This cafe in Bay View extends their specialties beyond coffee to southern Italian style pizza. Made from scratch in a wood burning oven, patrons can enjoy watching their pizza bake right in front of them, any day of the week from 11:30am to 9pm.
Cheese with Salumi – Some of us needed to be educated on just exactly what salumi was (dried, cured and salted italian pork), but pizza whiz Nick Picchietti assured us that ordering a pepperoni or salumi pizza was the way to go when testing the authenticity of a good italian-style pizza. The salumi added a light touch to the pizza, without taking over. It’s not spicy at all, but rather adds a mild saltiness to the pie. The tomato sauce was very bright and fresh-tasting, and in good balance with the thin crust.
Margherita Pizza – Again a well-balanced pizza, the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes really stood out in this one. The dough was slightly dense for such a light pizza, but still a great taste overall. There wasn’t too much of any one ingredient so we could clearly taste everything well. Nick’s favorite sign of a good wood-fired pizza: the slightly blackened edges. Heck yeah.
Ramp Pesto – This was their housemade ramp pesto with razor thin purple potatoes and Bel Paese cheese. A unique and refreshing combination, this was both tasty and filling. The potato pairs surprisingly well with the pesto, providing an earthy flavor to the pizza. We were anticipating a weighted saltiness to this pizza (when we think potatoes, our minds immediately go to chips or french fries) but complemented with the ramp pesto, it kept the pizza tasting light and garden fresh instead. A very well-rounded pie, which can be ordered with sausage to add another dimension of texture.
If you’re one with an aversion to greasy pizza, rest assured that these don’t conform to your average grease-fest that you may find elsewhere.
You can take Anodyne’s beans home with you – they have a selection of freshly roasted beans – both signature blends and single origins for sale.
If you’re not a coffee drinker but come for the pizza (or to hang out with friends) you’ll be happy to know that there are a myriad of other options. If you left room for dessert, they also serve a few flavors of Milwaukee’s Purple Door ice cream (Life hack: you can easily add a scoop to a shot of espresso to make yourself an affogato.).
Every good coffee shop has their famous wall-o-merch, and this place is no exception. They sell everything from coffee and tea gear to mugs, soap, and t-shirts. You can find some of their winter items at a clearance price on Anodyne’s website.
Next time you are wandering through Bay View, and need a place to veg or pass through for a moment, check out Anodyne’s Bay View cafe.
2920 S. Kinnickinnic
Milwaukee, WI 53207
CLICK HERE FOR PIZZA MENU
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