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Alterra vs. Ancora

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Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby roadkill bill » Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:28 pm

Am not downtown as much as I used to be, but was there today and headed over to my usual spot: Ancora on King St. Damned near empty. The new Alterra in the Tenney Bldg was buzzing, and several peopled who came in to Ancora said they came because there was a line out the door at Alterra.

One friend told me he liked the space at Alterra - and it is very nice, roomy, attractive, and warmly welcoming - but the coffee was much better at Ancora. He also reported that he had been very impressed with the food quality at Alterra in Milwaukee.

Looks like Alterra also served beer, so they will have the after-work crowd as well, like Barrques. That's a plus for me, because I often still want to sit, talk, work, etc after 5 PM.

Will people even out between the two places eventually? Have any forons compared them? Is Ancora doomed? (I dount it, and they have a strong bulk coffee business anyway.)

Madison seems to have an infinite ability to fill coffee shops, so it probably won't make much difference in the long run.

Can we hope that the real victim will be the Starbucks on the Square?
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby madgirl » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:50 am

I'm not all that impressed with Alterra. Yes, it's a great space, the patio on the Square is a great idea (very California) and the back room is just very cool, lots of dark wood and comfy chairs. It's much louder than I'd like; both people and stereo contribute to that. Not really a quiet place to work or hang out.

But why is there a line out the door? Very disorganized service. Dashed out of work a day or so ago at 12:30 to grab something quick to bring back to my desk before my 1:00 meeting. I decided to give Alterra a try. Yes, there was a line, but really not that long, just moved achingly slow. Waited in line for 5-10 minutes, and none of the 5-6 people ahead of me had large complex orders, mostly just to go food. Cashiers didn't have the hang of the cash register system yet. They were also very distracted by anything and everything. I ordered a toasted bagel to go thinking that would be quick. Ha! Watched order after another delivered, many placed after my lowly bagel. After 15 minutes, I snagged a waitress/runner and asked how much longer my toasted bagel would take. 5 minutes later, my bagel finally arrived. I barely made it back for the meeting. Bagel was barely warm and hard as a rock.

Thanks Alterra, you may be the cool new kid on the block, but I think I'll be sticking with the friendly folks at Ancora.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby jjoyce » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:47 am

Decided to try a hand-made coffee at Alterra yesterday just because. It was tasty, but it does take a while to brew. I recommend bringing something to read.

While standing there, dude walks in who appeared to be tying to check off as many hipster attributes as possible. Like Fred Armisen on Portlandia. Full sleeves of ink, tank top on an unseasonably chilly spring day, tribal earrings, Dre Beats, you name it.

Also, highest Macintosh ratio east of Carroll Street.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby penquin » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:33 am

roadkill bill wrote:Can we hope that the real victim will be the Starbucks on the Square?


Starbucks will be there & thriving for as long as there is a convention center filled with out-of-towners/out-of-staters two blocks away.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby O.J. » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:58 am

jjoyce wrote:Also, highest Macintosh ratio east of Carroll Street.


Wow, you ain't jokin'. I just walked by, and it looked like they were filming an Apple commercial.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:04 pm

O.J. wrote:
jjoyce wrote:Also, highest Macintosh ratio east of Carroll Street.


Wow, you ain't jokin'. I just walked by, and it looked like they were filming an Apple commercial.


I don't know why this is or if it's gonna be some hipster place now. Maybe it's the decor, but I've been to a number of different Alterras in Milwaukee and I've never seen anything like this. It's about as normal of a clientele as you could get.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby rrnate » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:48 pm

Stebben84 wrote:I don't know why this is or if it's gonna be some hipster place now. Maybe it's the decor, but I've been to a number of different Alterras in Milwaukee and I've never seen anything like this. It's about as normal of a clientele as you could get.


This is like when all the beer hipsters were excited about New Belgium's just OK beer showing up in these parts, perhaps?

Alterra's coffee is good - definitely not as good as Ancora's, which is supreme, but it's good. (I also like Barriques more than Alterra.) Amazing as it is, I don't think we've hit coffee spot saturation yet. For instance, why is there no good coffee spot in Hilldale? HMM? What, I gotta get coffee at Metcalfes? The Dane? No no no. Get thee over here Ancora or Barriques, I have caffeinated sitting to do!
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Re: Ancora for the win

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:34 pm

mytwocents wrote:Which brings me to the point of “Why would I want to support Milwaukee business when I can Buy Local and support a business that has consistently served me amazing coffee made in their Madison Roaster only 5 miles away from their store?!” So, sorry Alterra but Ancora will always come first in my book.

Honestly, I consider Milwaukee to be "local."
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby fennel » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:20 pm

In my book, local is within an hour's bicycle ride – perhaps 3 if we're talking about foodstuffs.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby Violet_Skye » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:36 pm

Google results were confusing. Exactly where is the new Alterra? Most helpful would be 'across from' or 'next to', etc.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:42 pm

Violet_Skye wrote:Google results were confusing. Exactly where is the new Alterra? Most helpful would be 'across from' or 'next to', etc.

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... icle=39546
http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/art ... icle=39570
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby Violet_Skye » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:51 pm

Cool, thanks. I found a lot of differing Google results for Tenney Building, and I had no idea where it actually was.
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby @wood2 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:28 pm

Alterra is most definitely not a local or in-state company anymore. They are owned by the Mars Corporation. Ancora is still local.

http://www.mars.com/global/brands/drinks.aspx
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby mytwocents » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:32 pm

@wood2 wrote:Alterra is most definitely not a local or in-state company anymore. They are owned by the Mars Corporation. Ancora is still local.

http://www.mars.com/global/brands/drinks.aspx


Agreed. Plus if I wanted to go sit amongst a a room jam packed full of college kids and a surplus of laptops, I would simply go back to college. Ancora is the place for me. Great vibe. WAY better coffee, and most importantly it's truly LOCAL to Madison.
Went there during the farmers market last Saturday. Batch Bakehouse bakery, a true Macchiato (not like starbucks sugared latte they try to pass off as a macchiato), and I was able to grab a cozy arm chair spot by the fire. Need I say more?
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Re: Alterra vs. Ancora

Postby eriedasch » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:04 am

@wood2 wrote:Alterra is most definitely not a local or in-state company anymore. They are owned by the Mars Corporation. Ancora is still local.

http://www.mars.com/global/brands/drinks.aspx


Are they "owned by" or did they just sell their distribution rights to MARS?
http://www.jsonline.com/business/91848249.html

While I always try to support the local business, I do see a difference.
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