The Alterra Prospect Café underwent a major remodeling project back in March and has now opened its doors to the public with some major improvements. That includes an expanded seated section, a full café food menu similar to Alterra’s other cafes, and a new feature called the brew garden that brews coffee to the customer right away. Other improvements made include interiors such as new skylight, an outdoor room, remodeled bathrooms, and other architectural designs.
As a sponsor of the Milwaukee Film Festival, Alterra plans to celebrate the grand reopening of the new Alterra Prospect Café by hosting a free event open to the public. On Thursday, August, 30th the Milwaukee Film Festival After- Party will kick off at 2 p.m. with the Milwaukee Cup Tasters Championship, and the best taster will receive the Technivorm Mocha Master Home Brewer. During the drink tasting competition, a screening of the film “Wasteland” at 5 p.m. at the Oriental Theater will take place, and then the party officially kicks off at 7 p.m. Next, is a live music performance from” Bahia” at 8 p.m. Lastly, spoken word performers from the film “Mark My Words” will show up at 9:30 p.m to close the party out at 11 p.m.
Alterra’s history began in 1993 and was founded by three people Paul Miller, Ward Fowler, and Lincoln Fowler, who all shared a love for great coffee. The original name the guys wanted to go with was altura, which is Spanish for elevation. However, a company in California already had the rights to the name altura, so the three men decided to go with the name Alterra. The word means of the earth. The name is fitting since Alterra is famous for its use of organic products.
The first Alterra opened in Bayshore in 1994, and the Prospect location became the second Alterra. The building’s design dated back to 1928 and used to be an auto parts store. It took two years to convert the place into a café and roastery. The grand opening took place in July of 1997 and the original vision of the company was for customers to watch the roasting process.
The chance to remodel the Alterra Prospect Café occurred after completion of the 2007 Humboldt Alterra. The Humboldt, Alterra replaced the Alterra Prospect Café as the main roasting facility, so a major renovation needed to be done. The Prospect location used to hold main offices and wholesale operations, but now they’ve been moved to the Humboldt location creating a lot more empty unused space.
The remodeling cost in the ballpark range of 750,000 to 1 million dollars “It exceeded my expectations and budget, said L, Fowler.” L, Fowler described the remodeling process as similar to check listing all the new features for a car and then adding even more stuff. “We want this to be the best café to communicate with the community, said W, Fowler.”
One of the new major revisions is the brew garden, where coffee is brewed for the customer immediately on the spot. In addition to the brew café, the Prospect Alterra contains a full-blown café food menu similar to the other Alterra’s around Milwaukee. The menu includes items like breakfast burritos, sandwich wraps, and desserts. L, Fowler describes the new food additions as a huge change for the café staff, and several employees had to come over from Humboldt and other locations to help the Prospect staff.
The interior design features a more elegant design with a major revision being the new skylight next to the other two. Also, the building has been reroofed and insulated in its entirety. “I learned more about glass on this project than I ever wanted to know, said L, Fowler.” Moveable walls were put in to make the café smaller, and the south end of the building changed into an outdoor room to allow more natural light to go into the building.
Now that the Alterra Prospect Café is finished the Fowlers are working on a Shorewood Alterra café, and possibly a Bayview café too. The Fowlers didn’t reject the possibility of opening a café in Madison, but right now there are no plans to build one. “Were very opportunistic in nature said L, Fowler.” Now it’s up to the community to decide if the changes to the Prospect café were worth it.