Located at 449 State St. above Asian Kitchen, Redamte Coffee House seeks to “bring redemption to business, culture, and purpose through a socially responsible and community-focused coffee shop.” Open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Redamte serves up cuisine made from the best and freshest locally grown ingredients. The coffee house focuses on the importance of community, working with several associations that direct their utmost attention to the needs of underprivileged children and justice advocacy in the developing world. These partners include Beautiful Child Sponsorship Program, Faith Orphanage, located in Jacmel, Haiti, We International and Just Coffee Cooperative, as well as many others looking to make a difference in their own community. Walking into the shop may be a foreign experience for even the most experienced coffee shop regulars.
The openness of the layout and starkness of the walls certainly set Redamte apart from the tens of other coffee houses calling State Street home. The blandness of the décor and mismatched furniture makes the shop feel a bit cold and less comfortable than the warm tones and seating of other shops.
The seating seemed more thrown together than selected to aesthetically please customers, but the point of the coffee house is to serve its community and the world with good food, coffee and humanity, not fancy nooks, expensive paintings or imported couches. Redamte does get a mini-facelift every month when it encourages artists to create art inspired by a different social issue to display in the shop.
As far as dress code goes, I would be 100 percent comfortable wearing sweats here. Conversations more than welcome, Redamte provides a perfect spot away from the mainstream of State for individuals or groups to study or just unwind after a long day of class or work. It would also be a good place for a very casual date.
The short interaction I had with the staff was average. It took a bit longer than usual to order since one of my items was not already in the computer, but the cashier handled it well and immediately asked another employee for help. All meals are made to order with local and fresh ingredients, and my food was brought out to me in less than 10 minutes.
The menu itself varies by season because of the use of local ingredients. The fall 2012 menu contains a breakfast, lunch and dinner selection featuring bread and pastries made by Madison Sourdough, cheese from Farmer John’s, honey from Gentle Breeze Farms, antibiotic-free eggs from Yuppie Hill and many more locally grown vegetables, meats and fruits.
Meat eaters, vegetarians and all those in between can find something to satisfy their taste buds here. With everything from crumpets to paninis to market quiche, everyone can eat, drink and be merry. All soups are made from scratch, all dressings handmade, and gluten free items are available for sandwiches and bakery items.
After looking over the menu, I set my mind on the garden veggie grilled cheese panini. All paninis are made on country bread from Madison Sourdough, which was absolutely fantastic. The bread, toasted, warm and crispy, held some of the freshest, ripest vegetables I’ve ever had. Spinach, roasted yellow pepper and tomato sat on a warm gooey bed of sharp cheddar cheese and a base of cream cheese. The spices baked into the sourdough complemented the sweetness of the vegetables and the sweet sharpness of the cheese perfectly. The texture of the crunchy crust and gooey, soft inside made for a delectable lunch. I highly recommend this to anyone, vegetarian or not.
All sandwiches come with a seasonal salad or apple. Chips or soup can be substituted for $.50 or $2. I chose to substitute for rosemary and olive oil flavored deep river chips. They are trans fat free, as well as gluten free and delivered a flavor-packed punch.
For dessert I ordered a peanut butter cookie made from scratch. The peanut butter flavor was not overbearing, and the dough was soft, melting in my mouth as soon as it hit my lips.
The portions of food are large and very filling, with items running from $2 to $9. I definitely believe I got my money’s worth, and it’s a plus that I helped out a local business so in tune to the needs of others. I would recommend Redamte to anyone looking for a great meal at a reasonable price in a simple welcoming environment.
Check out www.redamte.com for more information about the coffee shop’s fight for justice, mission, menu and specifics on weekly deals.