Fairgrounds Coffee gives Milwaukeeans another java option

There's a new place in Milwaukee to get your coffee fix. Its name is Fairgrounds Craft Coffee and Tea, located at 916 E. State Street in the Yankee Hill neighborhood. 

This is great news for coffee junkies looking for a new stomping ground, but Fairgrounds brings a different flare to the genre many of us are so familiar with. 

It's brings the art of craft coffee to the table, a unique off-shoot to the craft cocktails and craft beers Milwaukee is known for.

Fairgrounds CEO and Chicagoan Michael Schultz tells WTMJ's Melissa Barclay that the reason he brought his business to the city is simple.

He fell in love with Milwaukee.  

"In driving through Milwaukee and seeing the beautiful lake front and all the vibrant, new and young generation of folks that bring energy to it, we felt like it was a location that really was in line with what we do as a brand that celebrates local and craft and artisan," said Schultz.

"We've really been overwhelmed with how well we've been embraced by the community." 

Coffee has become a big business. According to, the U.S. coffee market is an 18 billion dollar business with specialty coffees on the rise.  

And there's no shortage of options in Milwaukee to get your daily cup of Joe. Anywhere from the many Colectivo locations to Stone Creek Coffee, Fuel Cafe, Anodyne Coffee, and among others. 

But Fairgrounds is not concerned about blending into the background. 

"Our design, our focus on guest experience and hospitality, and the variety in choice between beverages and food, it stands out," Schultz said. "It's been the same response, everywhere from California to Chicago to Minneapolis. So, we really don't have those concerns." 

It's Personal

For Schultz, it's not just about the craft coffee and unique food options. It's about leaving a long-standing legacy for future generations. 

Schultz says the business is personal to him.  

"I'm literally obsessed with the legacy I leave my children and that has absolutely nothing to do with money. What do people say about their dad when I'm gone and what kind of stories do they share. The Fairgrounds brand is a vehicle for us to provide opportunity for people to make a better life for themselves and their families," he said.

Little touches make all the difference, like the cool, blue color of their logo comes from the color of Schultz's grandfather's 1957 Thunderbird.

You'll also notice the names of items on the kids' menu are named after his children; Sadee's Sliders, Noa's Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Dunkers, Jacob's Breakfast, Mila's Noodles, Ruby's Rollups, and Junior's Mini Corn Dogs. 

Plus, another homage to his grandfather with Grandpa Irv's Espresso Old Fashioned.

Schultz even praises his competition and sells Colectivo coffee in his business.   

"I have a lot of respect for the folks at Colectivo," Schultz said.

"There's a lot of differences between Fairgounds and Colectivo. We love what they do at Colectivo and that's why we have them (their coffee) on our menu throughout the country." 

And there are more locations to come. Schultz says right now they are looking for additional spots in Milwaukee. 

"The hope of Fairgrounds is that it's a place, especially in this world and this country right now which is so polarized, that everybody can come together no matter what they believe in, no matter what they look like, no matter what language they speak, no matter what they are looking for, they can all come together in one place and enjoy being together," said Schultz.  

Check out Fairgrounds Craft Coffee and Tea's website here

Fairgrounds has locations in Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee.

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