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Coffee, Drinks, Food and Entertainment at Monona Bay's Lakeside St. Coffee House

By Marina I. Jokic

Lakeside St. Coffee House in Monona Bay is a quaint café nestled a short distance from Downtown Madison. With views of the city's skyline, it is the perfect place to sit and relax with friends, read a book, or just enjoy a delicious sandwich and coffee. Owner Kate Bumeister delves into the details that set her business apart from the competition.

"The coffee house fortunately came to me," says Bumeister when asked about her inspiration for opening Lakeside. Her current business associate was looking for a partner to run the coffee shop, an extension of Lakeside Fibers, a sister shop that sells yarn.

"I am from a food and beverage background so it was my mission to improve and take the coffee house to new levels of service and offerings," she adds. Once the Fiber Store moved to Monroe Street, Bumeister gladly took over the coffee house and introduced a new beer and wine bar.

The food and drink menu as well as the entertainment are constantly reinvigorated with new and exciting options. A welcoming place with friendly and experienced staff, Lakeside St. Coffee House has an outdoor patio, which provides the ideal setting for enjoying a refreshing drink on a balmy summer evening. Bumeister has tried to decorate the café according to her eclectic taste for art, books antiques, and the natural environment. It's aesthetically unique while also functional and comfortable, she adds.

Featuring organic coffee from TRUE coffee roaster, Bumeister's favorite farm is Pecatonica Valley Farms, run by the Carr family who provide her with smoked chicken and cottage bacon. Sourcing their ingredients from local farmers and organic growers whenever possible, Bumeister believes strongly in supporting her community while making sure her customers receive the highest quality foods.

"If I had a dollar for everyone that has told me 'I just love the vibe here,' I could take another vacation," says Bumeister. She has tried to transform the coffee house into a place where everyone can feel at home. From the menu to the music and events, Lakeside draws inspiration from the local community and tries to be reflective of its interests.

Besides the beer and wine bar, a great hit with customers, the menu also has an array of hot and cold sandwiches to please any palate. The Asian Peanut Tofu is Lakeside's signature sandwich and is prepared per a special in-house recipe. There is also Reuben with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and spicy curtido sauce. For breakfast aficionados, the classic Breakfast Sandwich is made with fresh eggs, Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese and salsa.

Some of the event highlights at Lakeside include Paint Nite, hosted on three Thursdays each month, and the Ukele Sing a Long which occurs once a month. The cafe can accommodate up to forty people for Paint Nite -- a great opportunity to bring people together to learn, enjoy, and of course, eat and drink.

"We are there to offer food and drink for inspiration," adds Bumeister. Weekends are also buzzing with activities, including live music at the bar. The sounds of classical guitar, folk, and jazz welcome guests inside, and create the unique character of Lakeside St. Coffee House. The coffee house can also be rented for weddings and other special events.

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