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Friday, July 11, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 72.0° F  Mostly Cloudy


Barriques begins roasting its own
Beans, glorious beans

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Barriques, the six-site local coffee-and-wine house, is now roasting its own beans. Previously, Barriques obtained its beans from Milwaukee's Alterra.

Co-owner Matt Weygandt says the transition will happen over the next week. The Middleton location has already switched over; it's largely a matter of when different shops will use up their existing supply of Alterra.

The switch was prompted by the desire "to have control over a key piece of the business," says Weygandt - coffee makes up about half of Barriques' trade. This way, it will be possible to offer "harder-to-get, special lots of coffee," and to "switch up the mix" of what's served at any given time.

"Alterra is one of the best in the business," Weygandt continues, "and we're big fans of their coffee. There are a ton of great things to look to, to emulate."

The customer's preferences will tell Barriques which direction to go. "Are they into single-origin? We can get more of those. We're not trying to dictate how people should be drinking coffee. I really don't think that's the future of specialty coffee," Weygandt says.

Roasting takes place at the new location on South Park Street, where 700 of the 2,700 square feet have been reserved for the roasting operation. Rob Jeffries, whose 25-some years roasting coffee includes a stint at Ancora, is in charge.

The two main locations for Madison food carts are the Capitol Square and the Library Mall. Less well known is the Southeast Campus Vending Area, which features eight spots in an area bounded by University Avenue, North Park, College Court and North Randall Avenue. The area is full of student housing and some large departmental buildings, but is, for the most part, off the beaten path.

And while Madison street vending coordinator Warren Hansen says that he's sold seven of the eight licenses for the area, only one vendor shows up with any consistency: the cart for Lao Laan-Xang, on West Johnson Street near Mills: "The mystery is why vendors aren't consistently using them."

"I expect one or two hot dog pushcarts soon, as UW classes start, and possibly some new carts as of Nov. 1, following the food cart review," says Hansen.

In addition to Lao Laan-Xang, the licenses are for "Earl G. Bailey - Prepackaged items," B and B Hot Dogs, Sabores Latinos, Pigtail Dogs, Luangprabang and Silky's Dogs & Brats.

The Rigby is now open in the former Casbah space at 119 E. Main St. It serves pub fare - salads, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, fish tacos, fries, loaded fries and fried dill pickles. Happy hour is 4-7 p.m. And the Rigby, which is named after a certain Beatles song about a lonely gal named Eleanor, is open - according to the menu in the window - "Eight days a week." Don't tell the U.S. Department of Labor.

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