Serves meat, vegan options available. A sustainable-model coffee and art cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and Milwaukee brunch. Has vegan French toast and tofu scrambles. Uses local and organic ingredients as much as possible and compostable to-go containers. Has its own backyard garden for growing veggies and composting. Open Thu-Sun 8:30am-2:00pm. Closed Mon-Wed.

Venue map for The National Cafe
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18 Reviews

First Review by ·X·


Points +562

04 Feb 2024

Lafayette Place is better

The National Cafe is owned by the same people as the Lafayette Place, but the vegan options at the Lafayette Place is much superior. The food at the Lafayette Place is all vegan, so that is preferred to begin with, but its is also just better.

There are good options at the National Cafe, and it is a step up from other places (how many places only have an Impossible or Beyond burger?) but not one we would necessarily seek out.

The cinnamon rolls were still fantastic though!

Updated from previous review on 2024-02-04



Points +660

09 Sep 2023

Tasty food with a cool vibe

Cool cafe with a great selection of coffee mugs. Many things are already vegan and others that can be modified. Typically, we only hit this place up for weekend breakfast.

The rice bowl is a must for a healthier option. Go to options are the Soyrizo/Potato burrito and the Huevos Rancheros.

Pros: A lot of vegan possibilities , Great vibe

Cons: Parking options are lacking. All street.


Points +114

28 Jul 2023

Great Find!

Driving through Wisconsin we needed to stop for lunch, so we took a little detour to eat here. It was so worth it! They had a lot of interesting vegan options on the menu including some baked goods (a weakness of mine). I got the Vegan Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich and my partner got the Huevos Rancheros and a side of French Toast. Everything we ate was tremendous. I saved my vegan coffee cake for breakfast tomorrow, but I'm excited to try it!

Updated from previous review on 2023-07-28

Pros: Lots of vegan options, Delicious food, Quaint space

Cons: Not handicapped accessible, Neighborhood doesn't seem safe


Points +1766

05 Jun 2023

Wonderful brunch place

A beautiful 🤩 Café to come to with mixed groups. Everything on the menu can be made vegan. 🌱 🥑 The coffee was good (Anodyne beans) and we had a very good time.
You order and pay online with a QR code which was convenient, just make sure your order gets through - we had some issues where we had to double check and re-start the payment process after wondering why it takes so long 😁
Perfect for a late weekend breakfast or brunch.

Pros: Amazing options, Nice environment , Friendly staff


Points +215

07 Sep 2022

So good!

Try the French toast or the breakfast Sammy. This is the only place I’ve found to get French toast in MKE


Points +121

30 Aug 2022

Reliably Excellent

For a while there, the National seemed to change its menu to have less vegan options and we then stayed away, but I'm happy to say they've reversed that trend and now have MORE vegan options! I ordered for the first time the Vegan Brekkie Sammy and it was wonderful. It was hearty and filling and genius - veggie sausage patty on top of hash browns, smothered in guac! Um, YAY! I hope they keep this trend up so I can keep coming back. I also tried their Vietnamese Baguette, which I believe can also be called a Banh Mi - fantastico! With all the delicious vegan "meats", "fish" and "cheeses" available now, I hope they will soon offer vegan versions of their Muffaletta, BLT, and Panini. And if they used Good Catch brand "tuna" think of the mind-blowing tuna salad sandwich they could make!!! Creative chefs at The National coming up with vegan meals that everyone will crave. Just need to get a tiny bit more creative with the new ingredients out there. If Vanguard can make mouth-watering vegan brats and sausages, I have faith that The National can make a Good Catch Tuna Sandwich that will melt my face off! I also must mention that they've changed the interior of the cafe a bit. The cold case is gone and a bar or counter is in its place. There is contactless ordering and paying at the table where you seat yourself. They still have a server bring your food out to you, though, but on busy days you will have to wait kind of a long time. The giant menu board that used to hang above the cold case is gone, too, since you don't come up to the cash register to order or pay anymore. All good things to keep people safe. Thank you, National!


Points +259

16 Dec 2021

Favorite brunch spot in Milwaukee

Update (12/2021): open Thurs-Sun 8:30am-2pm. This is the sister cafe to the newly opened all-vegan Lafayette Place (about a 10 minute drive north), so they share a few of the same vegan dishes (soy chorizo sloppy joe and vegan ultimate breakfast sandwich). I'm always impressed by the portions. Affordable, nice hospitality from the staff. They've started putting vegan versions of other dishes as standalone menu items, which is mega appreciated. Some insider knowledge -- the ranchero sauce is homemade from the cook's own Mexican family recipe, so you can definitely taste the love with the huevo ranchero dish (highly recommend... When making it vegan, they sub tofu for eggs). I also suggest the overlooked rice bowl. Request it vegan and ask for potatoes to be added to it for a really filling meal.

Update (11/2019): They have recently updated their menu and now have the BEST vegan sloppy joe I’ve ever had anywhere. Absolutely phenomenal. Seriously, everything I get here is great and really, really hearty.

Many of the non-veg menu items can be made vegan if you ask. My favorite is the huevos rancheros, but subbing out the egg for sautéed veggies and avocado (crispy tortilla, bean spread, sautéed veggies, avocado, and ranchero sauce). The hummus sandwich is easy to overlook but is outstanding with capers & sautéed veg. Portions are huge and filling, and the presentations are always so pretty. I avoid this place during weekend brunch because it is so busy (small kitchen & limited seating - note that in warmer months, they open up their backyard patio for extra seating). They sometimes cater at my work and they do a nice job with making boxed lunches.

Updated from previous review on 2020-01-25


20 Dec 2021

Hi, thanks for the information on the hours, I have updated them now. Sending in an update is usually the best way to tell us. :)


Points +84

16 Oct 2020

Pretty Okay

Nothing to write home about. Just a pretty forgettable experience.

Pros: A couple vegan items

Cons: A lil pricey


Points +38

14 Mar 2020

Hit and miss.

We've been here several times. The food is usually quite good but today's experience wasn't great. I had the vegan french toast and Matt had the potato chorizo breakfast burrito. Both items arrived extremely cold after a 40 minute wait. However, the taste of both was great.. just wish it wasn't cold.

Still worth checking out and would recommend for taste alone.

Pros: Vegan french toast is great!

Cons: Food was cold


Points +19

27 Aug 2019

Inexpensive and comfy

A few tasty vegan options and the gal at the counter was very friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. We are a large plant based family so I loved that I could get a yummy meal for around $10 a plate. The atmosphere is very eclectic, relaxed and fun. We will definitely be making the national cafe a staple in our home.

Pros: Good value, Casual, Friendly staff

Cons: Parking, Always a line for the bathroom


Points +1636

03 Aug 2019


Not my favorite breakfast/lunch spot in Mke, but definitely a cute place with solid options. Food could be more exciting/innovative, but it hits the right notes for what it is.


Points +16

02 Oct 2018

Good for Vegans

Charming. Friendly staff. Good food. Vegan choices clearly marked on menu

Pros: Lots of vegan options


Points +334

01 Jul 2017

get the tofu!!

First time here nice variety of vegan options. I got the tofu scramble-the seasoning was AMAZING


Points +24

28 May 2017

delicious tofu breakfast burrito!!

delicious tofu breakfast burrito!! Cute location, nice atmosphere. Slow because of the small kitchen but well worth the fresh & real ingredients! Would go back for sure.


Points +68

11 Oct 2015

Nice atmosphere, good food.

I ordered tofu scram with extra potatoes. It came with a side of fresh fruit and toast (just white bread). It is a nice place to stop for breakfast in your way go to the Domes ;)

Pros: tofu scram , friendly people


Points +27

12 Jan 2014

Great Place

Been there a few times. Most of the options are available. The place is well designed and decorated.


Points +13

19 Jun 2013

great spot

Had delicious tofu scramble this morning and a very well made latte. Look forward to coming back


Points +17327

01 Oct 2011

The National Cafe

The National Cafe is reminiscent of a grungy/hipster type of cafe, so if you're looking for a fancy meal you should go elsewhere. As you can tell by my rating, I didn't care for The National Cafe. As we stepped in, there was a line at the register and the employee working the counter didn't acknowledge anyone, as she was preparing a meal - mind you, there were only two employees working but I think acknowledgement is key in keeping customers happy while waiting; just expect to wait a long time to actually get food. The second downer was the fact that they didn't have the vegan french toast; the french toast was the whole point in our trip to the National Cafe. Overall, there are many options for vegetarians; however, the options aren't as plentiful for vegans. Having said that, I likely won't return to the national, but maybe that would be another story if I was just vegetarian.

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