The restaurant space at 4604 Monona Drive next to the Viet Hoa Market -- originally occupied by Lee Asian Bistro and more recently by Kim's Noodle -- has a new tenant. Rosie's Coffee Bar and Bakery opened quietly last Friday.
Owner and baker Coz Skaife has 20 years bakery experience. Rosie's Coffee Bar and Bakery is named in memory of her mom; the shop's motto is "Leave the world a little sweeter than you found it."
Skaife credits the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative and the Small Business Development Center at the UW-Madison School of Business with helping Rosie's get started. But despite Skaife's long history in the industry -- she has a degree in hotel and restaurant management from UW-Stout and has 32 years experience working in restaurants -- she describes herself as "a big chicken -- I had to work on the business plan for ever and ever."
Scouting sites, she found the empty Kim's Noodle, which was larger than she needed for just a bakery, and which also featured contemporary seating and a beautiful bar area. From the existence of the bar was born the idea of also serving coffee. Skaife worked with JBC Coffee Roasters (formerly Johnson Brothers) to get the coffee side of the business up and running; JBC trained the baristas and recommended top-of-the-line equipment.
Skaife makes her baked goods from scratch. Rosie's will feature cakes, cheesecakes, cookies and pies along with breakfast items like cinnamon rolls and scones. But so far the signature item is the from-scratch doughnut, in both yeast and cake styles, fried in a trans-fat free vegetable shortening. (Skaife notes that if you don't know what kind of oil your doughnut is fried in, you would be wise to find out, for health reasons.)
Skaife has high praise for other east-side from-scratch bakeries, Batch Bakehouse and Madison Sourdough (both on Williamson), and notes that each has its own specialty items: "The east side is really lucky with its bakeries."
Rosie's adds a welcome dimension to Monona Drive's many food offerings.
For now, the bakery is open from 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.