New coffee shop in Fremont
Smokin Bean opens its garage door
By James Card
The old Sader auto shop in Fremont had been turned into a coffee lounge called Smokin Bean, and Lisa Bowman, the owner, has integrated some of the building’s equipment and features into the interior design.
A massive steel pedestal that was once used to hoist cars off the ground now supports a huge table that can seat 15 people.
One wall is all the original brick, and an open roll-up garage door acts as a casual customer entrance.
The large opening lets in a gentle breeze off the Wolf River and that is caught and circulated by four ceiling fans. Along with the gray-painted concrete floor, there is an airy, cool atmosphere to the place.
Bowman opened the shop at the end of June and she says business this summer has been good despite getting off to a late start.
She and her husband both have a background in real estate. When she came across this building, she had a vision to recreate the feel of some of the dainty, cozy shops that she has visited in Cedarburg.
The remodeled interior has both a modern and rustic vibe with a combination of brickwork, corrugated metal sheeting and barn boards. And there is a laid-back living room feel with mismatched armchairs, sofas and love chairs abutted with end tables and centered around coffee tables.
“I got the idea to do some living room settings so people can feel at home when they are out,” said Bowman. “You don’t want to meet people at your house because that’s where responsibilities are. You want to meet them where there are no responsibilities for anyone that’s meeting; then your head is on vacation.”
Much of the furniture Bowman sourced online from area sellers. She is big on supporting the community and in the gift shop area is a wide selection of candles, lotions and craft goods from local artists and makers; and there are 32-ounce Ball jars of honey from a local beekeeper.
Smokin Bean’s menu
The same goes for the menu. The coffee is from Ryan’s Roast, from an independent coffee roaster from Appleton who operates out of his house. Baked goods from Ronie’s Tasty Treats, a freelance baker from the Boom Bay area.
“She is famous for her cheesecakes,” said Bowman.
Also on the menu are standard coffee shop drinks: cappuccinos, lattes, various teas, smoothies, craft beer and wine.
As for goodies, there are biscotti, croissants, rolls, scones, cakes and muffins. For heartier fare you can get quiche, bagels, salads, panini sandwiches and wraps.
She is planning to host some art classes on the car-hoist table and scattered through the shop are games and puzzles. Wi-Fi is available.
Customers can also pick up Smokin Bean-branded branded hoodies, T-shirts, tanks and coffee mugs.
The work isn’t all finished yet. Bowman and her husband are working on getting heating installed for the upcoming fall weather. Also, there is no sign out front.
She is conflicted about a new sign that would cover up the old Sader name that is built into the brick. It’s a puzzle of how to protect the building’s heritage while blending in new signage.
However, potential customers cannot miss the place on 219 Wolf River Drive. All they need to do is look for the garage door.