Riverwest Co-op Cafe

Overall rating: 4.5 stars 16 Reviews
Vegetarian cafe with small seating area is part of the Riverwest co-op market. Offers a vegetarian and vegan breakfast menu weekdays until 11am, weekend brunch 8-2, plus sandwiches, smoothies, and baked goods. Cozy, non-smoking seating. Price: Inexpensive more-less
Vegan-friendly
733 E Clarke St (Fratney)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212
414-264-7933

Mon-Fri 7:00am-9:00pm, Sat-Sun 8:00am-9:00pm

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  • Accepts credit cards
reviews

Reviews

First Review by SynthVegan
Rambling Vegans
Rambling Vegans
  • vegan
Contributions
+475

Our Favorite Place To Eat In Milwaukee

5 Posted on 03 / 08 / 2014

We adore the Riverwest Co-op Cafe and have eaten there many times. Absolutely everything on the menu is vegan or can be made vegan and they also have daily specials that are really good. The only downfall to the place is that it's so tiny, but when it's nice out there's seating outside or you can order your meal to go. The prices are really affordable, almost everything is organic and they use local ingredients as much as possible. The best pancakes we've ever had, vegan or otherwise! Some of our other favorites are the Bi Bim Bop, waffles and breakfast sandwich. They usually have some bakery that's vegan, as well and the staff is always really nice. All around great place!

Pros: Excellent Food, Very affordable, Organic & local
Cons: Only a few tables in the restaurant
tauberl
tauberl
  • vegan
Contributions
+214

One of the best

5 Posted on 01 / 12 / 2014

I absolutely love the Riverwest Coop Cafe. They have amazing sandwiches, soups, sides, brunch items, and the huge chocolate chip cookies are delicious. I've taken many non-veg family and friends here and everyone always enjoys the food. The place itself is a little small, and sometimes the service can be...relaxed (it's often staffed by volunteers in addition to paid staff), but any wait is worth it - the food is that good! I've been to vegan/vegetarian restaurants all over the country, and really do think the food here is some of the best.

Pros: Excellent food, Reasonably priced, Good sized portions
Cons: A little small

KatieB
KatieB
  • vegan
Contributions
+64

Disappointing, Vegans double-check food!

2 Posted on 05 / 16 / 2013

So, I took my mother here for a late mother's day lunch, but the food and service were both greatly lacking. We ordered vegan versions of the Philly and Tuno sandwiches, and got the potato soup as a side. The soup came first, but it was badly burned and tasted like charred cast-iron. The sandwiches came after a long wait, and the first few bites were great until I realized we had been served dairy cheese. We alerted the chef, who came out and used his bare hands to pull apart our sandwiches to check the cheese. He declared that mine was real cheese, but my mother's was vegan. She asked him to please make sure, and he then told us that both were dairy. It's upsetting enough that we were served dairy when we specified we wanted the vegan cheese, but they are very lucky that we didn't have a dairy allergy. He made new sandwiches for us, but neither were crispy like the first had been, and the Philly had a lot less veggies on it. They played loud music (with a little screaming) that I would have been fine with, but made my mother really uncomfortable, mostly because of the volume. It was about 1pm, so not evening. During our meal, someone also started vacuuming the floor, which was really loud and made it difficult for us to talk. I will likely give them another chance at some point (I really want to support Veg restaurants) but I was very, very disappointed with this visit. I would have given this a 1-rating, but the minimum rating allowed for a vegetarian restaurant is 2.


  • ToddLeech ToddLeech

    Thanks for the input Katie, all of the issues you mentioned have been addressed and I hope you'll give us another shot.
    All items in the cafe are now made vegan by default unless dairy cheese is requested. Our staff has seen your complaints and will not make the same mistakes again.

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steveveg
steveveg
  • vegan
Contributions
+154

Casual vegetarian & vegan

5 Posted on 11 / 16 / 2012

This unpretentious place is beside a co-op grocery store. The food, partly presented in a showcase, was quite good. I had the Phamous Philly made with seitan - it was very filling and tasty. All items could be made vegan.

Pros: Any item can be made vegan , casual
gr8vegan
gr8vegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+1633

My 500th Happycow Review! Co-op's rule!

5 Posted on 06 / 08 / 2012

I found myself in Milwaukee on my way to Madison for a wedding. I decided to stay a few days and explore the city at the beginning of summer. Milwaukee is an amazingly beautiful city this time of year. My first stop off the plane was Riverwest Co-op. Being my first time in Milwaukee I was a little nervous about the neighborhood, but quickly realized it was lively and diverse young residential area. The Co-op itself is small, but packs an ample selection of items, frozen and fresh. The cafe has a great selection of vegan items. I'm a oil-free vegan so its really hard to find healthy vegan food where ever I go, but the staff at Riverwest are so kind and understanding! Usually vegan restaurants scoff at me and hang up the phone! Riverwest made me the best sandwich I've had in years! The bread was wonderful and toasted w/o oil. It was actually a menu item, some kind of super veggie sandwich, but we subbed out the fatty bits, went with a spicy mustard for the sauce. I wish I would have ordered two of them I ate it so fast!
There is a nice small sitting area with tables to enjoy your food there. Bottom line is that you can't beat Co-ops! I've been finding wonderful Co-ops all over Wisconsin this week!

Pros: great sandwiches, helpful staff, co-op
  • webmaster webmaster

    Hooray!!! Thank you Gr8Vegan for all your honest and trustworthy reviews!
    Keep them coming. :o)

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cookie1908
cookie1908
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+61

Awesome Surprise in Milwaukee!

5 Posted on 05 / 27 / 2012

I go to Milwaukee a few times a year for work, and was so surprised to find an excellent vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the city! My husband and I have visited the last three times we were in town, and we are never disappointed. We go for breakfast and I'll list a few things that were unforgettable:
1) Breakfast burrito - so big and filling, and fresh!!
2) Pumpkin pancakes - these are by far the best VEGAN pancakes we have ever tasted.
3) Chocolate Chip Cookies - vegan and so tasty. We always buy three and then fight over them later!
4) Blueberry Pancakes - again, the best VEGAN pancakes ever!
5) The vegan scramble - the tofu scramble here is seasoned perfectly and comes with outstanding roasted potatoes and the best bread.

We love the fact that it's small and the staff cook right in front of you. One day we heard them playing hip hop, another day they were talking about a party, another day they were quiet. But it's always nice to see the food being prepared that you're about to eat. We enjoy our interactions with the cooks and were always treated well and never felt out of place.

Pros: LOTS of fresh food, Great seasoning, Comprehensive menu
Cons: Don't take AMEX, Have had to wait in a long checkout line
MichHey
MichHey
  • vegan
Contributions
+14

Terrible Experience

2 Posted on 03 / 19 / 2012

I'm vegan for many reasons but thinking that I'm better than everyone else is not one of them.
Even though this restaurant is not completely vegan, I got a very pretentious vibe from the staff in both the cafe and the store. The cafe does not have ambience. It's very cramped. I was willing to look past this for good food but I immediately felt the stares from people that seemed to say "go away, outsider!" To put this in perspective, I don't look like a freak and I'm not a yuppy so this was a bit unexpected.

When I asked what was gluten-free, the guy behind the counter gave me an inconvenienced sigh and the cook had to answer my question. He did not tell us when our food was ready as we browsed the grocery store as promised. He was rude to my girlfriend when she accidentally dropped her utensils. There was a hair in the quinoa we ordered and some mystery red goo hidden under the tortilla chips in the bowl. We got out of there as fast as we could. Out just seemed like one thing after the next. We will never be back. We don't choose to go to cramped places where we feel unwelcome.

Pros: Many vegan options
Cons: Rude staff, Few gluten-free options, Cleanliness issues
phall8790
phall8790
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+11

Great place, great food, friendly staff

4 Posted on 08 / 11 / 2011

Stopped by there today during my visit to Milwaukee. I drove well out of the way to find this gem and I'm so glad I did! I ordered the Tempeh Reuben and it was delish! The soup and smoothies are a hit as well. Don't let location or distance away keep you from trying this place out. The staff was super nice and friendly and I didn't feel out of place. I can't wait for another visit to Milwaukee so I can visit them again and order one of the other amazing items off the menu.

Pros: Excellent food, Friendly staff
Cons: Location
VeganAtheist
VeganAtheist
  • vegan
Contributions
+44

Fantastic!

5 Posted on 01 / 17 / 2011

Love the Co-Op!! We have ordered just about every sandwich and item on their menu. Their breakfast is great, sandwiches are amazing also! Our favorites are the Seitan Philly sandwich, BBQ Tofu, and our daughter's favorite is now the Vegan Quesadilla. Their smoothies are fantastic also. Very affordable too :) This is definitely one of our favorite places to eat. The only drawback is how long it takes to get your food sometimes.

Pros: Vegetarian!, Lots of options, Affordable
Cons: limited seating
saidinjest
saidinjest
  • vegan
Contributions
+38

One of Milwaukee's ONLY all-vegetarian restaurants

4 Posted on 11 / 18 / 2009

The Riverwest Co-op Café is basically Milwaukee's only all-vegetarian restaurant, besides maybe Bombay Sweets (but they only serve Indian food). The menu at the cafe is pretty extensive, and features lunch and dinner favorites such as BBQ tofu, black bean burritos, chix fried tofu, tempeh reuben, seitan philly cheesesteaks, and a VLT (a vegan BLT). You can also get various soups and salads. The breakfast menu features vegan pancakes, vegan French toast, veggie scramble (with either tofu or "free-range" eggs - YUCK), a breakfast burrito and more. While the seating is limited inside, you can also sit outside if the weather permits, or get your food to go. If the restaurant has more than a few people in it, getting your food can take a while, but it's worth the wait. If I could change one thing about the Riverwest Co-op Cafe, I'd want them to be a completely vegan restaurant and fill a serious void in the city of Milwaukee. Many of the menu items are already vegan, and ALL of them can be made vegan, so they definitely cater to vegans better than just about anyone else in the city. It'd be great to see them get rid of the dairy and eggs, too.

Pros: Extensive menu, Nice atmosphere, Friendly staff
Cons: Small seating area, Can take a while, Not 100% vegan
Guest
Guest

Yeah, I would go back...

5 Posted on 05 / 24 / 2009

First impression was this is a dirty hole in the wall. They have a decent grocery selection on the one side, could be better. I ordered the Seitan Philly, which was totally the BOMB!!! The Teese they use tastes like super yummy cottage cheese and the seitan was the best I've ever tasted. My friend got the lentil and kale soup with a grilled cheese (not vegan) and was a huge fan.

Even though one cook put his foot on a table right in front of us and everyone in there was annoyingly hippied out, I would totally return for their delicious food. Its worth it.

Pros: vegan friendly, yummy food
Cons: dirty, hippies
saki7sura
saki7sura
  • raw
Contributions
+33

Good People, Great Food

4 Posted on 11 / 06 / 2008

Bottomless coffee! I love it, plus soy milk creamer. Friendly workers, noticed a sign that said if you work in the kitchen for 3 hours you get a free meal:) A very "Eastside" thing to do and I'm not sure how I feel about it, it's a little on the negative side for me, I don't want just any bum making the food I'm going to put in my body. Al though they have pre-made cold dishes and hot meals was nice. There was a bum that came in to try to get change from customers eating inside when I was there and no one asked him to leave. Kinda gross, but again ver "Eastside". The food was well made and you get a lot for your money. Very limited seating I think there are only 4 tables but we didn't have a problem getting a table either time we went.

Pros: excellent food, good vaalue, healthy food
Cons: small place, limited seating, not a great area of Milw.
Guest
Guest

My second home.

5 Posted on 07 / 23 / 2008

This is my favorite place to go, period. It's such a staple in the community and if you live in the neighborhood, it's impossible to go there without running into someone you know. Sometimes it gets crowded, particularly weekend mornings because it's quite a popular spot and super easy to walk to. In this case, it's understandable for the cafe workers to be unable to constantly look after everyone. They take orders, make the food, then call your name and bring it over to you. They might be too busy preparing for a breakfast rush or a lunch rush to notice that customers are leaving and to wish them a good day. That's just how it is. If you actually talk to any of the workers, you will know there's no way they would be rude like that on purpose.

Anyway, my favorites (always 100% vegetarian and pretty much everything can be made vegan):
Seitan Philly, BBQ Tofu Sandwich, Tempeh Reuben, Biscuits n' Gravy, Breakfast Muffin, Taco Tuesdays!, Pizza Saturdays!, not to mention all of the delicious side dishes sold in cup- and bowl-sized portions that they have available in the deli case.

Oh, and always, ALWAYS try the soups. They never let you down. Perfect for rainy or blustery winter days.

I love this place so much, can you tell? I've spent hours here with just a book or local paper and a bottomless cup of coffee...

Pros: DELICIOUS, AFFORDABLE, FRIENDLY, FRIENDLY PLACE
Cons: quite small, gets too crowded sometimes, portions may depend on who's cooking
tdawg
tdawg
  • vegan
Contributions
+68

Vegan Brunch

5 Posted on 06 / 08 / 2008

Riverwest Co-op not only has THE BEST VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES I have ever tasted, they have such a wonderful selection of vegan Brunch items. Their veggie tofu scrambler has tons of fresh veggies. The fair trade coffee is delicious as well. Can't wait to try it out for lunch or dinner soon.

Pros: Friendly Service, Very Affordable Prices, Nice Ambience
Cons: Small Space
SynthVegan
SynthVegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+2506

Yummy In My Tummy!!! LOL!

5 Posted on 10 / 15 / 2007

I went to this restaurant a few months ago during my visit to Milwaukee. I was extremely impressed with their Vegan "Philly Cheese Steak"!!! If I wasn't there for such a short amount of time, I would've eaten there several times!

You must eat here if you're going through Milwaukee...I'm extremely jealous of the people that live there...LOL! Great restaurant!

Pros: Nice Staff!, Awesome Vegan Food!

 

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Last updated: 2014/07/18

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

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