Downtown’s newest coffee shop opens Thursday with a menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and juices. Abrazo Coffee is located at 321 Main St. in the space formerly occupied by The Rush juice bar, which closed in January.
Jennifer Cruse, Abrazo’s co-owner-operator, who had been working in the medical field, said she didn’t necessarily set out to open a coffee shop. “When it was The Rush, we were frequent customers,” she said about herself and husband/shop co-owner, Jim Cruse. “I love small coffee shops. … I just feel like there’s a special atmosphere in coffee shops, and when Heidi (Linden) closed, I was just very disappointed.” Eventually, Cruise decided to pursue the idea she had only toyed with in the past.
She and Jim had lived in the Oak Creek area, moved to Mount Pleasant, and Jennifer said she fell in love with Racine. “And we’re just very passionate about community and bringing that piece to here. So that’s my goal.” “I love people; I love coffee, and I’m just very excited about being able to do this,” she said about her new shop, which seats 25 people.
Cruse took over Linden’s juicing equipment, although she had to learn that part of the business from Linden. “It was pretty much a turnkey business which is why we were interested in the opportunity … and so we jumped on board with it.” Cruse said she chose Abrazo Coffee because “abrazo” means to hug or embrace Spanish. “It is named in honor of my mom (Shirley Carey); she just passed away in February. …
She was known for her hugs — strangers, friends, family alike. She just always wanted to make someone feel like they were important and unique, and that’s pretty much what we want you to feel when you walk in.”
Stone Creek coffee
The Cruses chose Milwaukee-based Stone Creek Coffee roasters, which Cruse said was “by far the most responsive and helpful” of the area coffee companies, with “great coffee.” They will also carry Pilcrow Nitro Coffee, a cold coffee infused with nitrogen gas to give it a frothy, creamy texture and dispensed from a tap. For the smoothies, Cruse said, they will use organic fruits.
They’re starting with one non-dairy smoothie called Go Green, with more of those to come. Next, they will carry Milwaukee-based Rishi teas and continue with the affogato that The Rush carried, a coffee dessert with espresso and ice cream. For juices, they will start with just three, also made with organic fruits and vegetables. “We’re carrying one of (Linden’s) recipes over, calling it The Rush in honor of what this was before.” “It’s exciting to have a juice/coffee bar again,” said Kelly Kruse, Downtown Racine Corp. executive director. “It’s a great gathering place for drinks and conversation in a relaxing atmosphere. We are thrilled they chose Downtown.”