Coffee and special homemade doughnuts are coming to Milwaukee’s new food hall, located at 275 W. Wisconsin Ave. in the old Grand Avenue mall.
With a neon sign and light pink walls, Supernova Coffee & Doughnuts will be at the front of 3rd Street Market Hall and will also have a walk-up window for to-go orders.
Supernova Coffee & Doughnuts isn’t a new coffee shop — it’s a second location under a different name. The first shop, in South Milwaukee, is Avenue Coffeehouse, owned by Milwaukee natives Sara Lewkowski and Aaron Ruiz since 2016.
Creating a place to hang out
Lewkowski said there were no nearby coffee shops or cool hangouts when she was in high school, so she vowed to open her own someday.
The South Milwaukee cafe has never waned in popularity — not even during the pandemic. In fact, Lewkowski said, it got busier. Customers were even buying gift cards to use at a later date just to support the business, she said.
And with lots of loyal customers, the tiny space quickly fills up.
“Within two years, we outgrew the space because it would be the weekend and all our seats would be filled,” Lewkowski said.
So, co-owners Lewkowski and Ruiz created a five-year game plan to find another location. With another space, they could expand their menu and still give Milwaukeeans a taste of their coffeehouse.They settled on the 3rd Street Market Hall.
That journey started when Lewkowski enrolled in a baking and pastry program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Lewkowski said she learned about the science behind baking, something she had never considered.
She also met chef and instructor Kurt Fogle, who introduced them to the 3rd Street Market Hall.
“It just seemed like good timing,” Lewkowski said.
Now, they’re slated to take over a 177-square-foot spot in the hall.
“We’re expanding to a whole other part of Milwaukee,” Lewkowski said. “I’m excited to be downtown in a spot with a lot of other people who have that community feel.”
And the best part is … Lewkowski gets to do more baking.
Doughnuts, coffee and merchandise
Supernova Coffee & Doughnuts will offer three kinds of doughnuts in addition to various coffee drinks: old-fashioned cake doughnuts, vegan doughnuts and a lost style of doughnuts made with potatoes and flour that were once deemed “Spudnuts.”
There’s an added moisture to them that makes them good, Lewkowski said of the lost doughnut.
The potato doughnut was popular in the 1950s, but it didn’t persist. Lewkowski and Ruiz are hoping to bring it back.
The flavor of the doughnuts at Supernova will rotate, but Lewkowski is thinking about offering vanilla bean, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, maple, expresso, peanut butter and jelly, and maybe blueberry cheesecake. She said she also hopes to offer the doughnuts at Avenue Coffeehouse on the weekends.
They’ll be affordable, Lewkowski said. She doesn’t want to charge more than $3 for the doughnuts.
Coffee drink prices will remain the same as the South Milwaukee location and will include drinks like their popular peanut butter cup latte and campfire mocha. The hard-to-come-by lavender and pistachio syrups will also be on the drink menu. They’ll also try to do a drink of the month, Lewkowski said.
Like their South Milwaukee location, they’ll sell limited merchandise at the 3rd Street Market Hall, including their Anodyne house blend coffee and possibly, branded T-shirts and coffee cups.
They’re making the name Supernova is to distinguish themselves from The Avenue space — the new name for the former mall, Lewkowski said. It also keeps with their popular space theme branding done by their designer, Lauren Marvell.
Lewkowski said the new coffee shop doesn’t have a set open date yet.
But, 3rd Street Market Hall isn’t the end of this business duo’s expansion journey. They’re continuing to look for a bigger space in South Milwaukee so they can serve up brunch items and reach more people.
“There’s really nothing in this vicinity that you can walk to and go and grab a healthy breakfast sandwich or a salad or anything like that,” Lewkowski said.
A bigger location, where they could serve healthy breakfast, would fix that. Lewkowski said she imagines selling all vegan and vegetarian items, including breakfast sandwiches, acai bowls, more fruit smoothies, tofu scramble, breakfast burritos and more pastries.
For now, it’s potato doughnuts and a healthy dose of coffee.
Avenue Coffeehouse, 911 Milwaukee Ave. in South Milwaukee, is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.