Cafe Domestique, Madison, WI

It's nice to have local coffee purveyors and coffee shops in any town you live in. It's even nicer to have a comfortable, well-appointed, Intelligentsia-offering, cycling-themed local coffee shop. I finally got to visit one in the latter category last week, it's called Cafe Domestique.

For those not in the know, the French word "domestique" means "domestic" or "household". As another example, a "home computer", in French, is called a "ordinateur domestique".  In the cycling world this word is used to describe a rider who works hard everyday for their team leader, no matter the weather or terrain. They protect the chosen team leader in each race they ride, from wind, other riders, obstacles, etc. Perhaps, from the team leader's point of view, it means a person that they can always rely on, they find comfort in, and as someone who will take care of and protect you.

If that last embellishment of mine is true, it seems fitting that this cafe is in a quaint, quiet, family neighborhood, has a very cozy feel, and is easily accessible by bike. It feels like you belong when you walk in and the service and product meets those same values, imo. It's not at all a massive space, which helps it match the houses in the neighborhood, and feel very comfortable upon entry. That said, I'm not sure I'd bring a large group of people here, with a 4 chairs next to end tables (pic above) and 3, four-top tables, it only seats about 16 people. Despite that, I think this is perfect for this space and feel. I wouldn't change a thing.

(how many chainrings can you count?)

Since I was intending to sit for a spell and get some reading done, I went in headfirst and ordered an iced mocha (decaf, sorry) and picked out a nice raspberry muffin to go with it. Both were solid. Not only that, but Batch Bakehouse is a couple doors down, which is where I presume my muffin was born... and near the end of my visit, a woman came in from a local cupcake joint to drop-off fresh-baked cupcakes. The proprietor placed said 'cakes under the glass dish on the front counter right away. People helping people (eat cupcakes) - it's a beautiful thing.

The bicycle name is borne out in the space well, with cycling items, bikes, and books on display. They were showing the live stage of the Giro di Italia too "boot" (get it? Italy looks like a boot). Don't worry - sound was muted and great music was playing for the customers.

See that little doorway on the right - this store is connected to a small cargo bike shop, known simply as "The Cargo Bike Shop". They're not always open at the same times and have separate entrances, but still work together and even combine events. I'd overheard they do a monthly family ride and, if I heard correctly, music for kids in the cafe once a month. Word on the street is it fills up fast.

If any of this interests you, I'd encourage you to click their links...

I didn't even get to talk about Intelligentsia, another famous export from Chicago. Perhaps soon.

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