Restaurant: Corner Bakery Café
Restaurant address: 1305 E. Capital Drive, Shorewood, Wisconsin 53211
Business Hours: Monday- Friday 6:00 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 6:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
Phone number: 414-210-2972
Opened on August 28, 2017
General Store Manager: Luis Arteaga
Overall Rating: 4/5
Corner Bakery Café redefines the limits of a bakery-café with its music, food and architecture.
The new trend of fast-paced bakery-cafés has spread throughout Wisconsin in the past three years. Bakery-cafés are meant to be the perfect balance between the fast service of a traditional fast-food restaurant and the full-service of a standard café. The Corner Bakery Café is a new addition to Shorewood, Wisconsin. It replaced the beloved Baker’s Square in August, whose Southern Pecan Pies made it a staple in the community. However, the Corner Bakery Café ‘s rich history, artisan breads and freshly baked sweets, quickly found its way into our diabetic hearts. It was founded in 1991 as a small neighborhood bakery on a corner in downtown Chicago. It serves healthy American cuisine options for lunch such as sandwiches, paninis, soups, pastas, smoothies and coffee. As it gained popularity throughout the midwest, it was no surprise that it opened its other locations in Wauwatosa and Pleasant Prairie. In June of 2011, an Atlantic-based equity firm, Roark Capital Group recently purchased the franchise from Il Fornaio. At the Shorewood location, the general manager, Luis Arteaga truly views his staff as a family. When he began working at the Shorewood location, he decided to employ all of his old chefs that he has worked with for 15 years.
I am not usually a picky eater. As a college student, I’d rather eat a full meal that is not as healthy, than buy an over-priced healthier alternative. I’m often inpatient when waiting on my orders at restaurants. I expect the service at a restaurant to be fast and well-prepared. I truly value good customer service. As someone who worked in a grocery store for five years, I understand the importance of making sure that a customer feels valued and appreciated. One recent Wednesday afternoon, my immediate family and I went to the Corner Bakery Café at 2 p.m. for a casual lunch. I had just finished a long day of class, and I was starving. Considering its architectural design and interior design, I expected the price of the food to be out of my price range.
As I entered the café, I instantly noticed its modern monochrome interior design. Its dark grey wooden small tables, dark brown wooden chairs and artistic metal lights gave the café a modern theme. As the sounds of current and early 2000’s pop music filled the café, I found myself enjoying the music instead of focusing on my position in line. However, I found that the music didn’t match the café’s aesthetic or customers. Most of the customers were middle aged women working quietly on their laptops with a cup of coffee, not young energetic teens laughing over an over-priced Frappuccino. The store featured small wooden framed pops of burnt orange, hot pink and olive-green signs. The store also featured one large wooden framed collage of multi-colored license plates above a dark brown leather booth. Near the front entrance of the store on the wall, there is a section dedicated to the Ghost Train in Shorewood. Aside from the booths, most of tables were only big enough for one person to eat on. I noticed that there was small piles of crumbs and receipts on the floor throughout the café. The restaurant seemed short-staffed for the lunch hour. I saw the general manager clearing off tables and picking up trash. However, during the summer, their outside patio area is filled with bright neon chairs with standard tables.
There are no personal waiters at the Corner Bakery Café. When you enter the café, you place your order with a cashier. The cashiers were patient and knowledgeable about the items and ingredients on the menu. While I was placing my order, a cashier had to take another order over the phone and drop-off a different order to a customer at the drive-thru. After you find a place to sit, an employee or a manager will personally deliver your meal to your table. I didn’t mind the privacy and I didn’t have to give a tip.
For lunch, I decided to go with their “Choose Any Two” option where you can mix and match half of a sandwich or panini, café handcrafted pasta, café fresh salad and one cup of soup for $8.79. I decided to try the chicken pomodori panini, which is made with all-natural chicken, fresh basil, spinach, roasted tomatoes and provolone cheese with pesto mayo. Unfortunately, this bakery-café only has corner-bakery branded potato chips to choose from. For my second choice, I tried the harvest salad, which is made with all-natural chicken, field greens, green apples, walnuts, blue cheese, cranberries and raisin pecan crisps with balsamic vinaigrette. Unlike Panera Bread’s “Choose Two” option, this deal gives you a larger portion of salad. However, the harvest salad didn’t come with enough balsamic vinaigrette on the side. I also ordered a pineapple orange smoothie for $3.99 with a yogurt boost for $0.50. The smoothie mainly tasted of frozen pineapple juice and vanilla yogurt. I barely tasted any oranges. For dessert, I ordered a slice of lemon pound cake for $1.99. The lemon pound cake was too sweet and contained too much frosting. I would recommend asking for a smaller piece of lemon cake and cut off the frosting to avoid a tooth ache.
The Corner Bakery Café is a small and intimate bakery-café. Within the store and drive-thru, all of the employees ensure that each customer has a unique and personal experience. However, the staff seems stressed and over-worked. The music within the store doesn’t match the season or the age group of most of their customers. The interior design needs more bright and vibrant colors to attract a younger audience. The salads should generally be served with larger portions of dressing. The bread on the sandwiches are slightly too buttery and take away from the main ingredients in the sandwiches. However, all of the items on the menu are under $10, which is perfect for college students. I would recommend anyone visit the Corner Bakery Café because of its well-versed staff, quick service and fresh ingredients. Its dedication to quality customer service and fresh ingredients is sure to relieve the stress from your school day.
 The Ghost Train is a light show that occurs throughout the year on the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge and Capitol Drive in Shorewood.