From Fresh Bakery to Savory Coffee and Tea, See Where the Magic Happens!
Stepping inside the Hillside Coffee House in Oak Creek is like traveling back in time. Not only is the building at 237 E. Ryan Rd. a historic community landmark, its comfy, cozy furnishings are much like those you might find in your grandmother’s house. And when the fragrant aromas of freshly baked pastries and delicious coffee drinks fill your senses, you know something special awaits your taste buds.
Hillside Coffee House was the brainchild of owner Rose Patterson. She had been unable to find both great coffee and delicious pastry in one spot, and her frustration kept growing. So with a solid kitchen and food background (she formerly owned her own spice and dry blend business, and had run the lunch program at St. Matthew School), Rose opened Hillside the first week of March this year. The business has gained a huge following of loyal customers and received rave reviews ever since. “I felt strongly that I was destined for this wonderful chapter in my life, so I set out to create a special place that was warm and inviting – as if people were in my own home,” says Rose. “And, of course, it had to have both great coffee and delicious pastry.”Hillside’s ambiance can indeed be described as warm and friendly. Rose tracked down the furnishings from a variety of sources, including resale and antique shops. The vintage furniture complements the era of the building, built in 1934. You can find a cozy corner by the fireplace to sit and relax – or choose a table for small groups (all spaced apart for social distancing). “I wanted to engage customers in the decor,” explains Rose, “perhaps triggering their own memories of bygone days.” An acre of outdoor space allows for eating and drinking outside during the warmer months. And there is a large, fully furnished lower level for meetings and parties.
Not surprisingly, however, the biggest attraction at Hillside is its amazing bakery items created by Rose herself. The most popular include cinnamon pecan rolls, lemon blueberry bread, macaroons and lime bars. There are also seasonal delights like spice cake, pumpkin rolls, turtle cheesecake and spiced chocolate cookies. Rose started out with a small bakery in mind, but the demand has been so high that she hired two additional bakers to help. Every day at least two gluten-free bakery options are featured, and Hillside also takes special bulk orders for gluten-free bread. In addition, you can place an order for other bulk items, like a full cake or pie, etc., if you are entertaining at home.
Gradually, Hillside has also added more substantial food items over the months (think brunch or lunch!). For example, quiche and a side salad are offered on most Sundays, and a made-from-scratch pizza is featured on Fridays. And with the arrival of the colder months, Rose recently introduced mac ’n cheese and several different soups (don’t miss the butternut squash!).
To complement your meal or snack, Hillside serves Anodyne coffee and Rishi teas – both hand-crafted in Milwaukee. Order your favorite iced or hot beverage as you sit back and relax. Hillside’s house blend coffee, appropriately named “Hillside,” is a special blend created by Anodyne to suit Rose’s personal palate. Grab a cup of this nutty, earthy blend at the café or take a bag of whole beans with you to brew at home (Hillside can grind for you, if needed).
As many regulars know, Hillside made good use of its outdoor grounds in September by hosting a Fall Fest and Vendor Craft Fair. It was a fabulous day with fresh-baked treats, warm drinks, live music and a variety of talented artisans displaying and selling their work (outdoors in a social-distanced environment). In lieu of a booth fee, vendors donated money to the Hunger Task Force, and guests donated non-perishable items to a local church. “We wanted to reach out to the community during a difficult time, and support our small, local businesses and those less fortunate,” Rose explains. And this past summer, another popular outdoor activity at Hillside was Yoga in the Yard.
To make use of the large, lower level of the building, Hillside has hosted a book launch, birthday parties, work meetings, Bible studies and more. The decor is as comfy and cozy as upstairs, and can be rented out to larger groups (fees are dependent on event details, bakery ordered, etc.). And although there are future plans for other events for all ages, Hillside is taking it day by day with the current Coronavirus situation.
For now, however, as the menu continues to evolve, there’s good reason to stop by Hillside often for your daily “fix” of coffee, tea or sweets. You will find Rose always on the move, from kitchen to dining room, making sure all the details are covered and that her customers are content. From fresh bakery to savory coffee – and more – come see where the magic happens at Hillside Coffee House. Be sure to say hi to Rose – and tell her you read about the coffee house in the Current magazine. Hillside will “bake” you happy!
Hillside Coffee House • 237 E. Ryan Rd. • (414) 304-5559
Wed.-Thur. 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. • Fri.-Sun. 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.