Hi-Fi Cafe

May 29, 2011

[flickr id=”5762771747″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

Mary Hart and Peter Steinhoff purchased the Hi-Fi Café in April 2004 from Sage Schwarm, who established the business in October 1996.
~photo Michael Timm

1. How long have you owned Hi-Fi Café and how has it changed since you’ve owned it?

Seven years. The menu has approximately doubled. We’ve added more entrees and beer/wine to increase dinner business.

2. How many menu items do you offer? Do you serve breakfast? How did you select your menu? During what hours do you serve food?

Full menu: breakfast, lunch, dinner. Food is served from open (7am Monday-Friday, 8am Saturday, 9am Sunday) to 9:30pm daily. Breakfast till noon M-F, 1pm weekends. The rest of the menu is available anytime. There’s a large selection for vegetarians, vegans, and meat lovers. Everything is homemade from scratch with fresh ingredients—bakery, soup/chili, hummus, dressings/sauces, salsa, guacamole, quiche, pancakes, made-to-order omelettes, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, burritos/quesadillas, specialty shakes and smoothies, coffee and coffee drinks… Everything available for dine-in or carry-out.

3. Do you use any local suppliers for your ingredients?

Local produce whenever possible. Alterra fair-trade organic coffee, Rishi teas, El Rey Mexican products, Glorioso Italian products, Casablanca falafel, Breadsmith breads, Lakefront beers, Sprecher beers and sodas, Attari Supermarket pita bread and Middle Eastern foods, Luv Unlimited incense.

4. Does Hi-Fi have Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi at Hi-Fi is free with any purchase.

5. Have you noticed a shift in business to or from sandwich/soup/food items versus just coffee/beverages?

Less all-day coffee drinkers with the smoking ban, more food sales but still plenty of both. House coffee is still the most popular seller.

6. Many people may not know that Hi-Fi also sells beer and wine. How important are beer and wine sales to your business?

Offering beer/wine has increased business in evenings somewhat. It has caught on more slowly than expected.

7. What do you know about what your building was used for prior to the café?

It was a restaurant before Hi-Fi but not a coffee shop/café. Not sure how long. At some point Hi-Fi was a TV repair shop/showroom.

8. What have you noticed about your clientele since the smoking ban took effect? Has your business plan changed as a result?

Many smokers stopped coming altogether. Very few customers stay as long as they used to, which is good for turnover. Food business has definitely increased, but not as much as we expected. Possibly people who ruled out Hi-Fi because of smoking in the past don’t know how much we have to offer.

9. Do you have plans to ever expand or open a second location?

We almost expanded our current location recently, and would still like to if/when possible.

10. The burning question: What happened to your sign?

No exciting answer about the sign. It burned up during a storm, most likely the result of an electrical short. We prefer the explanation in the Compass April Fool’s edition, though: “Hi-Fi Café So Hot, Melts Own Sign.”

Hi-Fi Café

2640 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Mary Hart & Peter Steinhoff

(414) 486-0504  hificafellc@yahoo.com   hificafe.com



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  1. Hi-Fi Cafe : The Bay View Compass on Wed, 1st Jun 2011 2:50 pm 

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