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Riverwest Co-op Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 21 reviews )
Contact 414-264-7933

733 E Clarke St (at Fratney), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 53212

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

Category: Vegan-friendly

Reviews (21)

First Review by SynthVegan

This place could use some improvent - Edit

Our food was very tasty, but the service was very slow. It took one hour to get three sandwiches and two drinks. The server checked with us twice during that hour period to make sure she got the order right, which is nice but one would hope she would get it right the first time around since our order were simple menu items. They did offer us a complimentary muffin once we pointed out our wait time.

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Speechless - Edit

Seriously speechless. I went there with a friend for dinner and it was SO good that we went there for breakfast the next day. Every single thing we ordered was exceptionally phenomenally FANTASTIC :D Also, the chocolate chip cookies they have packaged on top of the deli case are the BEST choco chip cookie you will ever eat. Countless vegan options, super unique layout, great parking, and cute market next door. Staff wasn't good, but I care less with food this amazing.

Pros: Menu options, Unique layout, Prices

Cons: Unfriendly staff

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yummy - Edit

Loved the atmosphere.
Eating vegan can be a challenge, wish there were more of these restaurants around the country. Tried the pancake: dessert for breakfast!
And the co-op fun in healthy food shopping!

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diamond in the rough - Edit

A cozy neighborhood store with a cafe in the back. Loved the food and the casual laid back vibe. Shopped a bit at the co-op after brunch-lots of items to choose from for a smaller location. We will be back!!

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Great co-op cafe - Edit

It's always great arriving at a place and seeing a sign in the window apologizing for the price increase (it's still cheap) so that they can pay their workers a more fair wage. They also offer an "all gender" bathroom, don't worry skittish folks, it's 1 toilet in a room. As for the food, we got breakfast and everything was flavorful and delicious. Looking forward to grabbing some lunch fare soon. It is a very small space, but the co-op public house down the road serves their brunch on the weekends.

Pros: co-op, fare wages, good food

Cons: small space, minimal menu

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Vegan - Edit

This is a totally biased review but I think this is one of the most honest restaurants I've ever worked for. Grills that have never touched meat, cookware that has never touched meat - a true vegetarian kitchen. Local farms supported from the large CSA farm I work for to small neighborhood non-profit operations. And everything is affordable and tastes great.

Pros: Vegan, Local, Honest

Cons: Small

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Disappointing, Vegans double-check food! - Edit

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.
Updated from previous review on Thursday May 16, 2013

Edit: The manager did reach out to me after my review, which was very encouraging. I would give them another try if I was in the area.

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  Contributions +501

Our Favorite Place To Eat In Milwaukee - Edit

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

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One of the best - Edit

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

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Casual vegetarian & vegan - Edit

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

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

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

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Awesome Surprise in Milwaukee! - Edit

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

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Great place, great food, friendly staff - Edit

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

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Fantastic! - Edit

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

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One of Milwaukee's ONLY all-vegetarian restaurants - Edit

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

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Yeah, I would go back... - Edit

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

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Good People, Great Food - Edit

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.

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My second home. - Edit

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...


Cons: quite small, gets too crowded sometimes, portions may depend on who's cooking

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Vegan Brunch - Edit

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

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Yummy In My Tummy!!! LOL! - Edit

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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