Stone Creek Coffee – Grand Ave Mall (Skywalk) – 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I first remember Stone Creek Coffee on an early visit to Milwaukee, thinking it was another national chain I hadn't heard of—after all, that name—doesn't sound real Milwaukee—there is a lake here, and a river, and if there really is a “Stone Creek” somewhere—well, I'll look up the company's history on some future review. Having exhausted all the soap nubs, and extraneous beans and grounds at my Airbnb, I set out to the Grand Ave Mall—Milwaukee's downtown version of a skywalk kind of shopping place—to TJ Maxx for some bizarre soap, and then the Stone Creek for a pound of coffee beans. They were offering a free latte with the purchase, so how could I resit? (even though it made me late for a date). I'm not usually a latte drinker, but sometimes it's just the thing on one of these encroaching winter days, especially if it's made well, and this was delicious. I'll have to remind myself not to get hooked. I'm a black coffee guy.

The “cafe”—such as it is—is essentially a little coffee booth in the skywalk connecting two of the buildings that make up the Grand Ave Mall. The nice thing is they have a variety of tables spread out on the edges of the walkway—so it's kind of a sidewalk cafe, but indoors and upstairs, with no car exhaust. I sat looking out a window, directly over 2nd Street, looking north for a few blocks to where the street doglegs. This is kind of at the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the theater district—there should be more people on foot, it seems, but maybe there are in the evenings when there are shows going on. Anyway, between looking down from the skywalk to the street, and the people traveling through the skywalk, this is really a good place for people-watching, because as you know, unless you like watching people work on laptops, we are not in the best era for people-watching in cafes.

Richard Skiller 11.15.17