A new coffee shop and bakery, Zest, has opened up in Stevens Point. Its grand opening was this Wednesday.
Brandi Gaede is Zest’s pastry chef and a former student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Her father owned the space and “we saw a gap [in Stevens Point]. What was missing was a coffee shop,” said Gaede.
While at pastry school in Chicago, Gaede met her fiancée, Jake Marchant, Zest’s chef.
“We’re different. We like to try new things only found in a bigger city,” said Marchant. They’re excited to appeal to a college-aged crowd who are wiling to try new things such as a chocolate chip bacon cookie. The two are proud supporters of anything bacon.
“I’ve always wanted to get bacon tattooed on my underlip,” joked Marchant.
The plan for the bakery has been in motion for about a year. During that time, Gaede and Marchant have been experimenting with random ingredients and pastry ideas.
Zest has a variety of pastries including root beer float cupcakes, lavender passion fruit cookies, and Wisconsin flatbread, all of which are baked fresh every day, throughout the day, from scratch. Due to the fact that Zest supports local businesses, the pastry menu will always be changing.
Their drink menu will remain constant, however. Zest gets all their coffee and teas from Alterra Coffee based in Milwaukee. Gaede and Marchant went on a search for what coffee they wanted to use and feel in love with Alterra. “It’s nice to have someone care about your coffee like we care about our foods,” said Marchant. Alterra brews the coffee fresh with every order.
But if you want decaf coffee, Zest isn’t the place for you. “There’s no need to keep decaf here,” said Gaede who is a strong supporter of caffeine.
In the near future, Marchant hopes to make a soup and salad menu.
Along with supporting local businesses, Zest is a supporter of sustainability and “going green” by recycling and composting. They also want to support students by putting up their artwork and let the art students paint murals on the ceiling.
Zest is decorated with an assortment of coffee mugs and random wall decorations that Gaede and Marchant find in thrift stores. There’s even an old mirror that the couple discovered in the basement when they first moved in.
Gaede and Marchant want the feel of Zest to be relaxed, and describe the coffeehouse as “traditional and new age.”
“I want people to just put up their feet and relax,” said Gaede. There is even a place on the bookshelf where they provide slippers to promote the easy-going atmosphere. To cater to college students, there isn’t quiet music like a typical coffee shop may have. “It isn’t a place where parents hang out,” said Gaede. Though to cater to students again, they will change the music during finals time.
Zest is located on the corner of Isadore Street and 4th Avenue.