Urban Fuel, a new specialty coffee shop and café has opened its doors in Peebles, a tiny community just northeast of Fond du Lac. Serving breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, Urban Fuel is located in the same space that housed the former Gift ‘n Gab eatery and gift shop.
Urban Fuel’s owner, Terri Deanovich of Fond du Lac, has had a dream for 10 years to open a coffee shop. As the owner of Deanovich Decorating for 20 years, she says she’s been waiting for just the right timing and the perfect location. In February, she ended ownership in one business to launch her new venture as a coffee shop café owner.
A few staff members from the former restaurant as well as several popular menu items were brought on board by Deanovich – making it a smooth transition. The comfortable leather couches and chairs surrounding the fireplace for extra “cushy” relaxation are also being recognized by former patrons.
Urban Fuel’s atmosphere is unique – it’s in a building that was an old feed mill, dating back to the 1800’s. The result is an old world, rustic ambiance. Historical pictures from the old working mill line the walls. “My café space dates back to 1901,” Deanovich said, noting while part of the old feed mill burned down in the 1980’s, her spot was untouched. “There is so much history here, and I can’t wait to learn more about it.”
As for the food and drink served at Urban Fuel, diners will find specialty coffees, teas, sandwiches, soups, salads and breakfast items – all deliciously homemade from scratch.
Topping the list for breakfast is the quiche of the day. Varieties like spinach bacon or artichoke asparagus tantalize hungry diners who arrive for a relaxing first-meal-of-the-day or those who choose to have breakfast for lunch! Other choices include homemade oatmeal, breakfast sandwiches and mouth-watering pastries like cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies and scones.
Lunch selections include soups, salads and sandwiches on a variety of breads, wraps and Paninis. Soups like Lobster Bisque and Mushroom Brie, as well as sandwiches such as Turkey Brie and Grilled Cheese on a Panini delight leisure diners. “Even our salad dressings are made from scratch right here,” Deanovich said, noting Thousand Island and Avocado Ranch are two examples. “Everything we make is created after you order it, piece-by-piece. Nothing is prepackaged or rushed. We aren’t a fast-food type of place — we’re an experience to be enjoyed.”
Coffee is derived from high quality beans purchased from Stone Creek — a Milwaukee coffee roaster, making the “fuel” in the name Urban Fuel come to life. Specialty coffee drinks are an art — one that Deanovich excitedly has jumped right into. Patrons will find her behind the counter, mastering “coffee art” which is the manipulation of cream and other ingredients into the coffee drinks. The art results in the creation of heart shapes and other designs in the specialty coffee drinks served. “Being a decorator for years, I love art,” Deanovich said. “Creating an artsy-looking specialty coffee is definitely a fun part of this business. I just had to do it.”
Tea is served on a platter in an elegant fashion at Urban Fuel. “I use the Tea Forte brand – it’s organic, Fair Trade tea and is Oprah’s favorite,” Deanovich notes.
Other special events take place at Urban Fuel during the hours the restaurant is closed. Wine pairings are offered on Thursday evenings – a time when patrons can sample wines with a variety of food items.
The addition of Cork and Canvas classes (a wine and painting class) is on the agenda at Urban Fuel as well. It’s an opportunity for those who want to sip wine with friends while relaxing and painting a lovely scene on canvas.
Urban Fuel is also available to rent for private parties. Bridal and baby showers, retirement parties, birthday parties and more have already been booked. Deanovich says her husband, three sons, and other relatives are pitching in to help when needed.
“We offer our space for parties during our closed hours — which is any time after 3p.m. Monday through Saturday and anytime on Sunday,” Deanovich said. “We do the catering and will try to honor whatever your needs are… whether it’s on our menu or not.”
Retail items for purchase at Urban Fuel include coffee, tea, wine and jams. “In summer we will introduce picnic basket rentals to promote Explore the Shore – a tourism brochure and adventure that guides people to visit businesses located in Peebles as well as other spots along the east side of Lake Winnebago,” Deanovich said. She notes that the baskets will have a theme such as Romance or Kid-friendly.
A quest to visit coffee shops around the country – especially in New York City – during the past 10 years led to on-site research for Deanovich as she formulated a business plan for her new venture. “My sons have played hockey all over the U.S.,” she said. “That gave me an opportunity to spend some time experiencing successful coffee shops wherever we traveled.”
Deanovich visits New York City about three times a year with two goals in mind – to spend time with her brother and his family who live there and to visit coffee shops and cafés. “I love the music and the ambiance of those New York coffee shops. It’s what really motivated me to open my own.”