We love to browse in this market while waiting for a table to open up in their cafe. They always have unusual items along with food staples. There's also a deli and bakery that has a pretty wide selection. It's never too crowded in the market, which is nice. It would be hard to get all of your grocery needs here but it does have a pretty nice variety of stuff. We always have a positive experience!
This is kind of the vegan/vegetarian mainstay in Milwaukee - if you mention you're veg to someone in the greater Milwaukee area, they say "oh, have you been to Beans and Barley?" The food is good, but not necessarily the best in the city - their desserts are great, though, especially the cakes (they also have big cookies from East Side Ovens, try the chocolate mint one, mmmm). My favorite order is the tofu burger; their veggie chili is also really good, and they usually have at least one other vegan soup. The deli counter is great if you're looking for something quick to take away, and everything is labeled as vegan/vegetarian/non-veg. The grocery/shop part is also really fun, and has good veg staples (vegan mayo, different vegan milks, soy/almond ice cream, etc) and treats (candy, chocolates).
Cons: Long wait at times (brunch)
The Beans and Barley Market is a short walk from Whole Foods, so it shouldn't be your first stop for grocery items. They have a number of prepared vegan items from the restaurant in the cold section. Its a very small market with a varied selection of gourmet items. Vegan gummies from overseas, etc. If you think of it as a vegan friendly convenience store attached to a great restaurant it rounds out well.
Cons: whole foods is a few doors down
Beans & Barley Market is small in size but carries a good amount of stuff. The first thing I noticed in their deli area is that they had vegan items such as wraps, house made cookies and muffins, and cookies/muffins from local vendors such as East Ovens Bakery (yum). I gave their in house vegan chocolate mint cookie a try and was impressed - generally store made cookies are dry and tasteless but this one was good. I also noticed other vegan items in the freezer (that I have not seen in WFM's yet) such as vegan shrimp - so it's good to know they're up-to-date with the vegan items. 3.5 Cows
I like Beans&Barley. I have been a patron of their grocery and cafe for many years. However it seems each year that the cafe's options for vegans diminishes in variety, portion size and flavor. It serves "healthy American" cuisine and really it is one of the only places I can take my family out to dinner, since they will not try ethnic foods nor eat vegetarian. It is clean, classy, a little expensive for what you get. The service reminds me of much higher dining. The staff maintain a high level of etiquette. The grocery is well stocked for its size and reasonably priced. Plus they have parking. (so my family doesn't have to walk more than 20ft)
Cons: snootie clientel, boring food options
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