Anyone addicted to the nectar of the gods knows all too well about that late-afternoon need for an emergency caffeine fix. You start running out of steam around 3 or so and, without a cup of joe soon, it’s gonna be lights out. So, after work on this cold Saint Patrick’s Day in Milwaukee, I met up with Jake for coffee at La Tarte, one of Wauwatosa’s coolest and under-appreciated cafes located just off 68th and Wells. The challenge for this tucked away gem of a cafe is not anything of its own making, but the fact that a newly minted Colectivo decided to set up shop directly across the street. It’s Cream City’s cafe version of David vs. Goliath.
When Colectivo planted its flag last year, skeptics doubted whether La Tarte would be able to survive a mere stone’s throw away from Milwaukee’s King of Coffee. But so far, things are looking up. Why is that? One word: Quality. Excellent coffee, smooth, not at all bitter or acidic, excellent pastries and soups (you can smell it all the second you step inside) and to top it all off, an intimate, European feel. So there we were, drinking our late-afternoon coffee to the ever-mellow rhythms of Fleet Foxes when we realized, given the choice between Colectivo and this, there’s no contest.
La Tarte, hands down, every time. Check it out.