Article by Claire Grummon
Down the street from the Capitol, past the Madison’s Children’s Museum, lies Bradbury’s: a quintessential trendy and cozy café. Bradbury’s isn’t hard to miss, large soaring windows and bright whimsical decals immediately draw you in.
Upon entry, the space appears small, but what Bradbury’s lacks in size, it makes up for in character. A large L-shaped communal table unites strangers over in-house roasted coffees, espresso and unique crêpes. The soaring windows send bright, fresh sunlight in, as a mix of indie music plays, and the sweet hum of the espresso machine echoes in the background.
In 2008, Josh and Jill Makoutz opened Bradbury’s three months after their daughter, Ruby, was born. While Josh Makoutz agrees that it was somewhat difficult opening so soon after Ruby’s birth, they couldn’t pass up the perfect space. He reflects on the experience by saying the timing ended up being perfect, and that he and his wife could alternate who was in the café and who stayed at home with Ruby. They each contributed equally and full-heartedly to both Bradbury’s and Ruby.
As Ruby grew, so did Bradbury’s. Bradbury’s has an array of delicious and high quality coffees from all over. Their current guest roasters provide Bows X Arrows coffee from Victoria, BC. United, they are a group of passionate individuals working towards finding a niche for sustainable coffee. Regularly, Bradbury’s serves local coffee from Kickapoo Coffee in Viroqua, Wis., and aims to promote their high quality and admirable sustainability as well.
Inspired by Wisconsin farms’ local, fresh ingredients, Jill Makoutz decided to incorporate something to set Bradbury’s apart from any other Madison coffee shop: crêpes. She had spent some time in Croatia, where her love of crêpes began. Local Wisconsin farms such as Pecatonica Valley and Sprouting Acres
provided the perfect ingredients for new and inspiring crêpe creations.
The Makoutz’s change their crêpe menu regularly depending on what is the freshest. At Bradbury’s, you always know the ingredients are in season. The couple is excited for the culinary opportunities that the nearing spring months will bring. Ramps and asparagus will certainly be featured on their savory menu, along with a chicken, onions, kale, Brie and fried egg crêpe.
Josh prides the couple on being able to work with both high end coffee programs and locally sourced ingredients.
“A lot of places do one or the other really well, but it’s fun to do both in our tiny little space,” he said.
Doing both works incredibly well for the successful couple. Their coffees are offer a bold, rich, luxurious flavor, and they craft a perfectly silky cappuccino. Regarding crêpes, I sampled the “Ham and spinach with smoked gouda, a cracked egg, and mustard” savory crêpe, as well as the “Raspberry preserves and yogurt cheese” sweet crêpe.
For the savory, the egg was beautifully folded in and spread evenly throughout. Every bite offered a sampling of each fresh component, none of which were overpowered. The mustard itself was a delicacy. For the sweet, the raspberry preserves were the star of the show. They offered a perfect summery flavor on a cold Wisconsin day, and the yogurt offered a nice contrast to cut the sweetness with some tart flavor.
Having been to Paris, France, it is clear that Bradbury’s offers a local Wisconsin take on a European favorite. The setting, unlike any other coffee shop in Madison, appears to be straight out of Brooklyn. If you’re looking for something a little different, and searching for some friendly faces, wander into Bradbury’s for coffee and crêpes crafted by a passionate, warm, and hardworking family.